Sunday, July 25, 2010


My Pirate Name: Captain Bessie Flint

Even though there's no legal rank on a pirate ship, everyone recognizes you're the one in charge. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Change Of Pace

For the past several months I've been quietly working part time with the schools doing substitute custodial work. I've loved it. Upon becoming a part of the substitute list I was then eligible for a permanent position if one should arise and no one in the union bids on it. Well, several weeks ago a job came up for bid. I patiently waited for no one to bid and then was interviewed for the position. I got it.

Over the past year I've been looking for a change of pace. I've stated in previous posts, most people don't know what I do. I don't just put a client in a room and my job is finished. I put the client/pet in a room, get a history, temperature, weight. I'm the restrainer for the doctor while they perform the exam. I'm the first in line to get bit or scratched. I fill prescriptions, make labels, present estimates, write up payment plans, complete charges. I maintain controlled substances and logs, take radiographs, calculate/draw up/administer/monitor anesthesia. I draw blood, place IV catheters, administer fluids/vaccines/medications/injections. I perform blood testing/urinalysis/fecal samples/ekgs/blood pressures. I count blood smears and read microscopic analysis. I'm a pet owner educator and a shoulder to cry on for those having their pet euthanized. I clean the clinic from top to bottom including dusting/mopping/trash. The list goes on, but in other words, I have a lot on my plate.

It's kind of hard to explain why I'd want to switch careers. One thing that made me want to change. Benefits. The benefits as a veterinary technician aren't the best, especially with healthcare. I will now have decent benefits which I haven't had since the military (yes, I'm calling the military benefits good compared to what I've recently had). Other than benefits there are many other reasons why I have chosen to take a step back. Too many to go into here. I have given my current employer notice that I'm willing to stay on part time or as needed. I still want to keep my hands in the field if at all possible and will keep up with my registration.

I know there's a stigma that comes along with being a custodian, but I'm not too proud to become one. As with reasons why I'm stepping back from the vet world, there are reasons why I want to work for the school. Just a few....Believe it or not cleaning is a passion of mine and I like to work independently, so it's a good fit. I'm currently working with David, which will not always be the case, but we both enjoy the time together. This is a way for me to give back to the school I once attended and it has allowed me to face some demons that I left there upon graduating. As David did, I'm currently working to earn my boilers license. After completion of my class I will then log hours on a boiler then be able to take the class. Become a fireman/boiler operator is not an immediate position upon earning my license (as with David) but in time we'll both be able to move up. And sad, but true, I will be able to earn more as a custodian/boiler operator than as a veterinary technician.

There are many changes that happen throughout our lives. I'm not closing the door on being a veterinary technician, but I'm opening the door to other opportunities. You never know, in a few years, I may want to pursue something else, but I'd hate to look back and regret not trying something new.

More On Elwood

David beat me to a post on losing our froggy friend Elwood. It's amazing to me how such little fella can impact your life. I never imagined I would touch a frog, let alone hold one. Although he was an amphibian and not a reptile, he helped me face my phobia of snakes. I still have a decent fear/phobia of snakes and would like to stay as far away from them as possible, but they don't freak me out as much.

A couple months ago Elwood started to have lumps under his skin. After research we believed we found a diagnosis/treatment. Cestode worms. We performed treatment and the lumps resolved. Unfortunately I can't help but think he was never fully healed. Within the past several weeks he developed multiple skin lesions (some in the form of abscesses), his appetite diminished, and another large lump appeared on his head. We were treating him with antibiotics but he was to the point where he would not eat for days at a time. Finally, I decided to puncture the lump near his head and removed discharge. The following day we found him after he had passed with the same discharge seaping from his entire body. Ultimately we believe his body was full of some sort of infection.

As David said, this truly saddens us, however we also understand that this comes with keeping pets. He brought happiness to our lives and I hope he enjoyed his habitat as much as we enjoyed building it for him. We still have Whompy, our other frog, and he seems to be doing well.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

We miss our boy

Hey everyone, this is David. I wish I could say I had good news, but I don't. Some of you may know that Elwood our tree frog has been ill. He was fighting a skin infection and yesterday afternoon Heidi and I came home for lunch. As soon as I saw him, I knew he had passed on. It was almost a year ago to the date that we bought Elwood. I understand he is only a frog, but we truly love our animals and our hearts are very heavy. I am glad he is no longer suffering, but we still miss him very much. We bought a little wood box with a latch, and we made a little plot for him next to our garage. It's true that we've saved our animals and given them a great life, but they have also rescued me. Caring for them is therapeutic for me, and they can get me through some tough days. Rest in peace Mr. Wood

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Heinz 57 Ketchup

This is a Heinz 57 Ketchup post.....oh, I mean catch up post. Tee hee. With the dawn of Facebook I don't tend to blog often. Where to start? Let's start with the kids.....

Spencer's doing better with his seizure and auto-immune disease. No seizures since starting his medications and his itchy/hurting mouth is much better. As of this moment he has started a second anti-convulsant medication. Our hope is to acquire a stable state on the second medication and wean him off the first medication. We're doing this to protect his liver long term. After the change, we'll then start the transition off of one steroid to the other for his auto-immune mediated disease.

Jax. Well everyone knows he has FIC (Feline Interstitial Cystitis), however over the past 2 months he was coughing/sneezing. We initially thought it was hairballs and treated as such. It continued, so we went ahead with a workup with radiographs. We found he had no problems with digestion and tried a few trials on medications with no success. With the process of elimination and watching his symptoms he was diagnosed with feline asthma. It is a condition that needs to be addressed. If it is not addressed it will get worse and can be fatal. If you do treat, it will still get worse, but you can help to control it. We went ahead with an injection of steroid to give him relief. It helped. Not only did it help, but it definitively diagnosed the asthma since he had a positive reaction to the medication. There are several treatment options but most consist of being on some sort of steroid regime. As with Spencer, and any other animal, you want them on the lowest effective dose. So only time will tell as we go through the next few months, but hopeful we'll get a handle on his condition as we did with Spencer.

I've posted before, but all of our animals have some sort of condition. Most have multiple conditions/diseases. When I told my mom about Jax, she couldn't believe it. She said, "Only your animals." Most people have pets that may have one to two major health problems in their life, ours keep adding. I'm just thankful that our pets are with us. They are worth it.

David's still a vegetarian. Actually he's a vegan. He doesn't want to say he is because there's a stigma that comes along with it. In addition, although he's strict with his lifestyle, he knows there's room for error. I'm amazed at his transition. I would never have guessed he'd go down this road, let alone as fast as he has. In addition, he's soda free. Yep, you read soda pop. That in itself is amazing. Although he drank a TON of water, he also loved his soda. So giving this up is huge. He loves where he's at and I don't see him ever looking back.

As for me, I'm still dabbling in the raw vegan world. Actually, I have transitioned from high raw to low raw. Basically what that means is I've moved from using a lot of nuts to focusing on fruits and veggies. I was 100% low raw for a month, felt great, doing awesome and last week had a bit of a hiccup. I don't want to call it that, but have no other word. There's too much that goes into this lifestyle that it's hard to explain here. But, in a nutshell, it's all raw, no added spices (including salt, etc), focuses on LOTS of fruit and veggies, and LOTS of water. I plan on keep on keeping on with it, but not as strict as I was initially. I have an addictive personality and cold turkey is the best way for me to do things. Unfortunately cold turkey changes don't always make for the best long term changes. I ulimately would love to be 100% low raw and know I'll get there, since I've already been there and have felt the amazing changes. But, for the time being I'm going to work towards that target and feel positive that I'm moving in the right direction.

I've gotten back to running pretty solid. In addition, I got a Trek bike for mother's day and plan on biking to work this summer.

I'm glad for the positive changes in our lives. I'm grateful for everything in our lives. After these recent changes I've realized that not only do I need to see what I'm grateful for, but also verbalize it. Hence, my daily "4 gratefuls". It's not about throwing stuff in people's faces (the I got this and you don't type of thing) it's about being positive and spreading happiness. Maybe if more people did it, the world may be a better place. Wishful thinking? Meh, maybe, but it's worth a try. It's easy to see the negative and get down on yourself. When I first started my gratefuls I found it hard to think of 4 for each day. Now I go through my days constantly thinking, "I'm grateful for this...." It's hard to narrow it down at the end of the day oftentimes. That, or trying to remember all what I said I was grateful for during the day.

Well, I believe that's about it for the catching up. Until next time...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tomorrow's A New Day

I'm anxious, excited, and nervous for this upcoming week. Unfortunately everything that I'm anxious, excited, and nervous for I cannot blog about just yet. However, in a nutshell, it has to do with changes in my lifestyle that effect me one else. I'm sure this next week will be a challenge, but I'm so ready.

Friday, April 09, 2010

My Husband, A Vegetarian?

On Wednesday David went out to eat for lunch. He had a salad with grilled chicken. Unfortunately the chicken did not sit well in his stomach. This is not anything new for him. However, he tends to go about his life, eating meat, feeling sick, and repeating. But after Wednesday's problem he came up to me, put out his hand, and said, "I'm going to try." I looked at him slightly confused. He then went on to explain, "I want to try to be a vegetarian and want to shake on it." I said, "I'll shake your hand, support you, but it's all on you and the choices you make."

At no point since I've become vegetarian and now vegan have I pressured David to change his lifestyle. I will admit I'd love him to drop the soda habit, but that's the only thing I've brought up. So this is a choice he is making on his own. Of course I fully support his choice and hope he succeeds. At this point his choice is to become lacto-ovo, just like I had been for 2 years. Lacto-ovo, meaning eggs and dairy will be allowed in his diet. With that being said, he's already been limiting his dairy products for over a month due to lactose-intolerance (got to love almond milk). So he's not gorging on egg/dairy products, but by maintaining a lacto-ovo status he can still eat food options with dairy/egg products listed in the ingredients. Obviously his current focus is to eliminate meat products in hopes of feeling better.

Although I'd love to succeed and know he will, my ultimate hope is that this will improve his health for the better, allowing him to feel better all around.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nothing New

Why do I never get around to blogging anymore? I still find it so enjoyable, yet never write. Bah.

I'm still doing the raw vegan thing. Still loving it. There are multiple "forms" of going raw so I've decided to venture into a specific area. In a nutshell it focuses on increased fruit intake which means it has lower fat intake. I enjoy fruit so I see this being a positive thing. As always, only time will tell, but I'm willing to try it and see if it "works" for me.

Spencer's doing well. I'm thankful that we've started to taper off of his steroid. He was to the point of needing to go outside every 2 hours and having accidents in the house. He's a good boy though and found the puppy pads all by himself (we have them setup for the other dogs and everytime he's used them). Unfortunately I feel horrible when he has to use the puppy pads. Although he's relieving himself in the right area, in his head I know he thinks he's having an accident. He knows he is only supposed to go potty outside, so I know it's probably a mental battle as he tries to hold it as long as he can. Thankfully mom and dad have been able to check on him which has limited his need for accidents. I'm looking forward to continuing to taper off his steroid and getting to the lowest dose possible. Within the next week we also hope to start to transition to the other anti-convulsant medication.

Other than that nothing much has been going on. Warmer weather is around the corner. We're ready. Both of us have been sick over the past 2 weeks with head colds and just want to feel better.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Put The Lime In The Coconut

Over the past few weeks I've had the opportunity to have some new food experiences. Nothing too exciting, but all the same, different. Most everyone has experienced coconut is some way, including myself. However, on all of my vegan/raw sites people recommended or some recipes call for a young coconut and/or it's milk. Young coconuts aren't the easiest to come by. But, when we made a trip to Whole Foods last week I had two catch my eye. We bought them and they've been sitting in our fridge since then...until today.

It takes some work getting them open, but finally it happened. First we tried the juice, and then the meat. I had no expectations. It was different. The first sip I was unsure. However, as I've found with this diet change, most things seem different, because they are. For instance, changing from chocolate to carob or cacao. But after a few bites, your taste buds and brain align and you find that things are pretty good. Same deal with the coconut.You must forgive me for my lack of skills in describing food. It's just not my thing and I personally can hardly ever understand people's descriptions of food, wine, beer. I just think, "it's good," or "it's bad." I'll try my best to explain the coconut. The water consistency is the same exact consistency as plain water, just a little cloudy in appearance. It tastes like water with a very slight sweetness and a woody (?) undertone. As for the meat, it tastes almost the same way. It's cool looking at it because it's so white. I describe the consistency as that of drying Elmer's glue while David says it's like fish. I have no idea about the fish thing. Either way, our descriptions are very unappetizing, so we didn't think much of that as we ate the mild tasting meat.So, how do I rate a young coconut and it's milk? I like it. I like it a lot. It's something different. It's something good. I'm sure others would say, "meh, not much taste. nothing special." Unfortunately although I like them, they're not that easy to come by and the buggers are decently hard to open. With that being said, they'll be a special treat for me when I make a trip to Whole Foods.

Oh yeah, most may not know this, but I share darn near all of my food with the kids. Yeah, some may be grossed out by that. Either way, I enjoy it, they enjoy it, and they have a wide palate ;) They love their fruits and veggies. Now they can add coconut to their list of foods they've tried. And how did they rate the coconut?
Spencer says, "Nom, Nom, Nom!"
Vikings says, "Everyone else is trying it. I'll try it. Yum!"Lily says,"You know I'll eat anything. They don't call me the vacuum for nothin'. I was so fast eating it, mama couldn't even take a picture."

Saturday, March 13, 2010


After 3 weeks of going raw I was surprised that I wasn't going through the "detox" that everyone spoke about. I figured that maybe I had switched over gradually (already being vegetarian) that my body wasn't in shock. Then, this past Wednesday I noticed some signs that lined up with what others call detox. However, Thursday evening came around and I started to feel sick....allergy-type sick. As the night went on I felt worse and on Friday, even worse. I was able to function regularly, I just didn't feel right. This morning I woke up still feeling yucky. Once again, not deathly sick, but congested, headache, GI upset sick.

So, what is this about? I can't chalk it up to being only detox. My guess is that it's a cold that started Wednesday and has continued on. Not exactly sure. Otherwise, I'm still doing great. No problems on the food front.

Spencer's Results

Spencer's results arrived this week. We had several possible diagnoses and one was proven correct....lymphoplasmacytic neutrophilic gingivitis. It's also known as Lymphoplasmacytic Stomatitis (LPS). It's a for of immune-mediated inflammatory response. Unfortunately there is no known cause. In addition to occurring in dogs, it can also occur in cats. With cats, often full mouth extractions are necessary. With dogs it usually is easily controlled with excellent dental hygiene, antibiotics, and long-term steroids. Other changes (i.e. diet) can also assist in treatment.

Unfortunately, treatment for Spencer may not be so easy. Considering his previous diagnosis of epilepsy and already being on an anti-convulsant we'll have to make some changes to his pre-existing medications. There are many ins and outs of his treatment, but I'll simplify it.....Due to drug interactions our current plan is to wean him off of phenobarbital onto potassium bromide while on prednisone (steroid). After changing, if steroids are required long-term, we will then switch to a different steroid. In addition, he will be put on an antibiotic for the next 3 weeks since an underlying infection was also found.

We're hoping that this treatment will give Spencer some relief. Something to keep in mind is that there are possible side effects from long-term treatment of both of his conditions, so we can only hope for the best. Although we haven't been down this road before, it's all too similar having been down another road with our other pets, especially Lily. But as we've found, this too shall pass. And if it doesn't pass, we'll adapt and overcome. We're thankful to have an answer and thankful to have a plan so that we can make Spencer feel better.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Keeping It Up

Alright here's an update for those that care....

Things are going excellent. I'm maintaining the raw diet and feel excellent. I think I can honestly say my endo hasn't bugged me once this past week. In addition I was able to run 4 (or was it 5?) days last week. Hiiiiyah! My goal of not having any non vegan/cooked sweets every night was met. I didn't really think about it really, so it was a non-issue. As expected I did have one "free" meal this past week. David and I headed to Cleveland Saturday and ate at Tommy's. Tommy's has a variety of foods, including many vegetarian and vegan options. So although my "free" meal was cooked, it was still vegan. At the same meal I had a tofu-shake. I guess I can't say I went 3 weeks without ice cream. Ah well. It was my first experience with Tofutti and I loved it. So technically, I've been vegan this entire past week. I'm not really into having to fit into a label so I'm not real sure where I fit yet....vegan/vegetarian. I'm definitely more than vegetarian but at the same time I haven't thrown out my leather belts, shoes, and all. So, that has yet to be determined.

A few more things I've noticed while going raw.....

It's expensive. At least to get started. Buying all the spices, nuts, fruits, and appliances adds up fast. With that being said, we're not eating out half as much, and when we do it tends to be a lot less. So, I'm hoping over time the expense wains. Even so, right now I'll take it. When you feel good and not in constant discomfort it's worth the expense.

I've always been adamant about being out of the kitchen. I despised cooking. I found it intense and non-relaxing. However, over the past few weeks I've spent more time in the kitchen than I've probably spent in my entire life. Cleaning, cutting, chopping, mixing. In addition I'm compiling recipes that I think are do-able. I'm having fun experimenting with the new dehydrator. I've already made some rockin' fruit leathers AKA fruit rollups and have some cinnamon apples dehydrating now. I also have cut-up potatoes marinating in vinegar right now so I can pop those in tomorrow, making salt and vinegar "chips."

When I sit down to eat a meal I've found that I get fuller faster. With that being said, I still need to watch my daily intake. It's easy to snack and not realize it.

So, this raw food thing is working out quite well. I don't know if I necessarily have a goal for this week. I think the plan is to maintain what I got going and see where it leads.

Monday, March 01, 2010


I've been going raw for 2 weeks now. The first few days were rough, but I'm digging it now. Although it's not quite second nature just yet, I'm getting there. I don't have to think about it as much now....What am I going to eat? What things can I put together to make a smoothie? Ideas for salad dressings. I'm coming along.

I'm not 100% raw, nor will I ever be, however I have been giving myself a "treat" every night, for instance, a few pieces of candy. In addition I allowed myself one meal a week that wasn't raw. I'm ready to take the next step. My challenge to myself this week is no "treats" at night. I haven't decided if I'm going to give myself my one meal a week this week or not. I have time to think about it. And if I do choose to give myself that meal, that will be the next thing I plan to cut out. Of course there will be times where we'll go out to eat and I'll allow myself to have a different dressing instead of the ol' vinegar and oil. When I'm at home it's easier to have more raw choices, given that I can make homemade dressings. I'm going to try my hardest to stick to raw options while eating out. At the same time I won't lose sleep over things that I don't have much power over. A salad, even with a non-raw dressing is still better than a burger (even if it is veggie).

Although people may see this as depriving myself of my wants I see it differently. It's just changing my mindset and eating patterns. In the end I feel better not having those things, it's just getting past the "want phase." Not to mention, I love challenges like this that I place on myself. It allows me to prove to myself that I am a mentally strong person and that I can do it if I put my mind to it....i know, cliche', but it is what it is.

So, with this diet change, these are the things I've noticed so far....

Last I checked I had lost about 5 pounds. Hmm, not too bad in my opinion. Especially, when I get to snack on things during the day....good things, of course. And this weight loss isn't even with steady running. With going on a business trip/work schedule/snow, I've been unable to keep a steady running schedule. Still trying to get to 3-4 times a week runs. That's getting better too. So I will only hope that the diet change and steady running may produce further weight loss, even though it's not my number one goal with changing my diet.

I was anticipating that traveling might throw a wrench in my diet. Not so. I was able to pack fruits that didn't require refrigeration and made up the rest of my meals with salads out and about.

My facial skin/complexion feels softer. It's not perfect, but just a littler softer and less bumpy.

My endo doesn't seem to be kicking on a daily basis. Although I don't think this is a direct correlation to my diet, I think it's indirectly associated with my bodily digestions that then effects my endo. Not a proven hypothesis, but I do see a difference.

I haven't had ice cream in 2 weeks. I'll say that again...I haven't had ice cream in 2 weeks. And that means real or soy ice cream. That's got to be a record. I won't lie, I'd like to have some, but I don't need it.

I believe that's all the changes I've seen so far. Once again, these may be related to my diet change, maybe not. The bottom line....I'll take them and I'll keep up this raw stuff.

Endometriosis Awareness Month

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. Please help in spreading awareness and understanding by signing this petition....
Online petition - Create Endometriosis Awareness & Understanding

Friday, February 19, 2010

Spencer's New Problem

Within the past few months Spencer's breath has become horrible. Originally I thought nothing of it. If anyone knows anything about greyhounds, they know most have been dealt a bad set of cards in the dental department. However, looking closer I noticed his teeth weren't bad. They're not perfect pearly whites, but there's not a huge buildup of tartar and calculus. More recently we've noticed Spencer itching his mouth on anything he can find. His paws, a rug, our legs, and even our radiators throughout the house. Most recently I took a look inside his mouth to see his gums are red. We're not talking pink....we're talking RED, inflamed, painful gums. In addition to the redness we noticed this past weekend that there were lesions on his gums from rubbing so much. So we had him checked out.

Originally we (myself, David, and the doctors) visited the idea of him having a form of allergic reaction to his phenobarbital (anti-seizure medication). After research we came to the conclusion that chances are this theory isn't right. Thankfully due to my co worker's (our vet's) affiliation with OSU he called them to get some input. OSU has a large greyhound "program" that focuses on greyhounds, along with research on the breed. They lead us in a new direction.

There could be a multitude of things going on with Spencer, but these are our current ideas....lymphoplasmacytic stomatitis, pemphigous vulgaris, bullous pemphigoid, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Those are some mouthfuls, eh? Basically they're all autoimmune type of diseases.

The next step in diagnosing is to put him under anesthesia, retrieve a biopsy, and submit it for further examination. I'll be taking him into work in 2 weeks to have this procedure performed and hopefully we'll get some answers. It may not be a serious problem, but it's obviously uncomfortable for him and it's time to find out what's going on. If it is one of the diseases listed, USUALLY they symptoms can be controlled through corticosteroids. Although, the side effects of steroids aren't preferable (increase food/water intake, increased urination, weight gain......), especially using them long term.

Once again, it comes as no surprise that we may have yet another special need to address with our pets. As I've blogged so many times, they each have their nuances and diseases. And although we don't want our kids to suffer and wish they didn't have these problems, we wouldn't trade them in, even if we had the chance. I'm thankful that they are in our lives for a multitude of reasons, especially the fact that we have the ability (for the most part) and the desire to help them instead of casting them aside like some others may do.

Once we receive results I'll post more information.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Looking back through this blog I've seen myself go through many changes. Changes range from lifestyle to physical to mental changes....and many more in between. I'll admit, sometimes after reading through my posts and seeing what I've written, seeing what happened, and/or seeing where I am now, I feel like I look like an idiot who can't decide what I want to do. Meh That's the bad part of a blog I guess. You expose yourself. The good and the bad.

For over 1.5 years I've been a lacto-ovo vegetarian. I guess you can say I've succeeded in that change I blogged about. I like it and it's worked for me. About a year ago I entertained the idea of taking that another step further and making a change to a "raw diet." (I hate to use the word diet, because it's not a "diet." If you think about it, anything that you eat is your diet.) A raw diet is where you don't eat anything that's been heated/cooked. Technically it's a form of vegan diet. Basically a lot of veggies, fruits, and nuts. Don't get me wrong, it's not a chincy diet. You'd be amazed at the combinations and recipes out there.

I love being a vegetarian. At the same time I'll be the first to tell you, it's easy to be an unhealthy vegetarian. As with my running, I've let my eating habits slip. I've gained weight and just feel blah overall. I want to feel healthier again. That leads me to the moment where I am now. I think I'm ready to try a raw diet. Since Monday I've been attempting a raw food diet. So far so good. This isn't something I can do cold turkey like going vegetarian. However, I've done very well maintaining raw until a few pieces of candy each night.

So why am I doing this? The answer: why not? My other reasons -

I'd like to re-align my body to become healthier. If you think about it, I'm already halfway to already being raw by being a vegetarian. Even if this doesn't stick maybe it can help with being a healthier vegetarian.

It's been shown that going raw can help with chronic problems/diseases. I'm all for trying "holistic" options.

I don't like to make food and actually go through the process of eating. I know, that sounds crazy. If I didn't have to feed myself, and could receive my food through IV, I'd be happy. Don't get me wrong, there are foods that I like, but it all just seems like a hassle for me. So the way I look at it, the easier it is, the less I have to eat, the better. I don't want/like my life to revolve around food.

Although this will sound contradictory to my last statement, changing my diet may allow me to try different foods I may have never thought to try. I may not want to work for my food, but I'm always willing to try new things.

Going raw can also help with weight loss. Although this isn't my main goal, I'll take it if it comes.

I think it's funny that my diet is basically what our Russian Tortoises eat. Heck, no veggies and fruit will go to waste between me, the tortoises, birds, and dogs (yes our dogs LOVE veggies and fruits).

So, that's where I am. You never know what changes are going to stick and be lifelong or just be a personal fad. Either way, changes make us who we are and they make life interesting.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Mardi and Tchoupi are adjusting quite well to each other. We have been surprised as to how well they've not only adjusted but bonded. I'm not sure if Tchoupi likes Mardi better than Chango or if she's trying to cope with the loss, but she now seems more relaxed in the cage (she sleeps curled around versus straight now). And as I write they are as close as they can get to each other and sleeping away. Although we miss Chango terribly, this makes our hearts happy.

Sunday, February 07, 2010


I'm not sure where to begin with this story. Chango flew away yesterday. I think we're both still in disbelief.

This past summer we decided to add a bird to our family. After getting Tchoupi home we realized we probably should have gotten another one to keep her company. We went, purchased Chango, and headed home. Immediately they both perked up and they were inseparable since. Parakeets may learn to talk but given them being paired it was unlikely. We worked with them nonstop to get them acclimated to us. In all honesty, they were used to us, but still relied on each other for their comfort.

As time went on their clipped wings (to limit flight) grew back out. Finally, they didn't flop to the ground if they fell. We'd allow them to fly around the house a little bit each day. We enjoyed watching them. Clipping wings is a topic I'm on the fence about. Yes, I know they're pets, but I'd like all of our pets to live as "naturally" of lives as possible, within reason. That's one reason we let their flight wings grow. But that thought process kind of leads me to doubt owning any birds. You know, taking their natural abilities away. On the other hand, they were bred to be pets, not to be out in the wild, and no matter what they're going to be a pet to someone....and we'd rather them be with us, knowing they'll be loved. I know, I'm thinking to deeply into it and I can't wrap my brain around it.

So, we let their wings grow. Yesterday we got home, let Spencer out to do his business. I also let the birds out of the cage to fly around the house. At that same time David let Spencer in, and out Chango went. I heard David's, "Oh shit!" and the door slam. I ran to the door. I'll never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I could see Chango's turquoise wings as he flew higher and farther away, never looking back. Then David, out in the ankle+ deep snow, his flip flops thrown from running, standing there in his socks, with his hands on his head, and the look in his eyes of his heart being ripped out. Off we went, on foot, trying to find him. We called his name. We threw seed. Mom and dad even went out just to make sure. He was gone. He never stopped, so we could only imagine where he went.

I didn't know what to do. My heart hurt. It still does. However, I deal with death on a daily basis through my work. I never in my wildest dreams thought I could perform a euthanasia on a pet. Now, sometimes I feel heartless as I walk into a room, perform the procedure, and don't think much about it. Don't get me wrong, I give every client and pet the respect they deserve. And I always say, "Say "hi" to Toto for me." (Toto being my childhood pet that was euthanized several years ago). I also admit there are days that I do break down and cry with the client or shed a couple tears as I walk out of the room. It's all part of my job. In addition to my dealing with death, I wasn't as close to Chango as say our dogs and cats. When their time comes I will be a basket case.

With all that being said, I'm handling Chango flying away differently than David. My heart hurts from losing Chango and the thoughts of what will happen to him. But my heart hurts more watching David. The pets are his "release." He will sit in the pet room for hours admiring them all. Playing, feeding, cleaning....whatever. He's content. Chango was "his" bird. David, just like most men, doesn't cry easily. And whenever he does I'm at a loss of what to do. Yesterday was one of those days. I didn't know what to do to comfort him. All I could do was hug him and say, "it's going to be alright." Unfortunately, it's most inevitable what will happen to Chango. Domesticated birds don't usually survive in the wild. Add onto that the cold weather, chances are he didn't make it through the night. Last night was harder than yesterday, knowing this to be the case.

All we can do is be thankful for the time he was with us and hope that he was as happy as he made us during that time. And if and when he does pass, it's not a time of suffering for him.

Not only were we grieving but we had Tchoupi, our other parakeet, to worry about. We didn't know what to do for her. She seemed ok, but confused. After doing research most people said to pair them again. I gave David the option and told him that the choice is his. He decided that he wanted to pair her again and she now has another friend. His name is Mardi (as in Mardi Gras). They seem to get along. However, it's back to square one teaching a new bird that we're not the enemy and that they can trust us. It will be a long road, but as always, worth it in the end.

To Chango: Mr. Blue we loved you!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Kidney Stone Update

I had my 6 month check up with my urologist today. I can't help but feel that I failed. You may ask, how can you fail a check up with a doctor? I have no idea, but I feel I did.

Number 1 - According to a test I'm not producing enough urine. In other words I'm not intaking enough fluids to flush the kidneys. My doctor said the number 1 reason in the US for kidney stones = dehydration. And I'm the poster child for that model. Great. I've tried to up my fluid intake with always having water/lemonade with me at work and using straws. Unfortunately my type of work isn't the best situation to be drinking all the time. Not only the drinking, but visiting the can too. I'll try to work on it.

Number 2 - In the past my stones have never been seen on radiograph, only by cat scan (there were approximately 2 in the kidney last scan). This time? Yep, one of the stones is showing on the radiograph. It's either that or I have arthritis on my ribs. I wouldn't put it past my body about having another problem, but chances are I don't have arthritis in my ribs...yet. This isn't necessarily a bad thing that it's now seen on radiograph....but in my mind I think it is. My thinking....if it's visible on radiograph, it's larger than last time.

Number 3 - I'm currently on potassium citrate to inhibit the formation of stones. My citrates used to be really low, so we started supplementing. After 6 months of supplementing my citrates have risen. However, not enough. So now I'll be on 2 tablets 3 times a day. Not real fun. It's not a big deal, just a hassle to remember sometimes. In addition, more pills means more money.

So that's my visit in a nutshell. Time to kick it into gear with more hydration and more potassium citrate, then I get to do it all over again in 6 months.

Thursday, January 21, 2010


After such an excellent moment yesterday that lead to a good post. I'm sorry to upset those with this "down" post.

First off, I arrived home to find that my deductible I met last year was not credited to the change over in insurance in October. Meaning anything I had performed after the change over is not covered. Not too happy about that.....considering I already know I will owe over $150 presently, and that's without another test that I'm still waiting for the bill. (sigh)

Then we got a large envelope from Veterans Affairs. For those that don't know David has been suffering from a multitude of problems from during and after his military experience. Too many to list here. Not to mention, some of them quite personal. Back when he got out of the Marine Corps he filed for disability. Surprisingly he rated for a small amount. However, we weren't just happy for the disability rating, but more importantly that he had service connected coverage (if it's service connected you can go to the VA for treatment and it's covered.) As time goes on some of his problems that were supposedly "diagnosed" (with no successful treatments) have gotten worse. One of them being consistent non-stop pain. It wasn't until he self-diagnosed himself with fibromyalgia, with multiple doctors confirming the diagnosis, that he has had some "relief." Most of the relief has come from knowing what he has. Unfortunately the physical relief hasn't been much. As with endometriosis there is no cure for fibromyalgia. You just hope to keep it at bay with medications. After being diagnosed, determining that the military misdiagnosed/undiagnosed him, and having the conditions worsen, he decided that it was time to seek some form of disability through the VA. Not necessarily monetary, but at least service connected. While seeking further disability he had multiple other problems addressed during the process. After going through the process and hearing multiple legal people and doctors say that he should have rated for a higher disability long ago (in other words, "it's in the bag."), I must admit it was hard not to get our hopes up. We tried to keep ourselves in check. Fast forward 5 months later......

You know that VA envelope that we received today? Yes, that was the decision in regards to David's disability. And guess what it said. No further service connection disability granted. I read the 8 pages or so thoroughly. I couldn't keep my head from shaking in disbelief. Once again, it was hard not to be hopeful, but we couldn't believe it. Not only could I not believe no further service connection was granted, but as I read their reasons why they chose not to.....For instance, it was stated to the effect of, "Since fibromyalgia wasn't brought up until 2009 this is not service connected." Are you kidding me? True, the word Fibromyalgia was not mentioned prior to 2009, because it was never diagnosed as such. But look at his medical history. Everything aligns back then, to his symptoms now. The list goes on, all in the same sense.

So, where does that leave us? We can appeal. We will appeal. Thankfully we have some connections that should be able to help us. In addition, we have copies of 90% of David's medical history from the military. Once again, it'd be excellent to get monetary disability, but mostly what we're looking for is service connection.

The military broke my husband. In more ways than one. Most people, even the ones we know, have no idea what he went through while he was serving. And although him and I talk about everything I wouldn't be surprised if there are stories that I haven't heard. From the outside no one would know his history or what he's presently going through. He's a genuine nice guy that goes about his business day to day.

Some may think I'm mad. No. I'm sad. I'm not looking for a pity party. But sometimes I must admit, it's hard to face certain things. Here we are at 26 and 28, both with multiple health problems that most people never deal with, or will only deal with when they are older. I shake my head, but hey, those are the cards we've been dealt.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Take That Endo

I'll be honest. My running habits suck. I haven't run in about 2 months. Probably more. I've been trying to maintain some "athleticism" using the 'rents stationary bike (thanks mom and dad) several times a week. But you know that's nothing compared to a daily run. A couple years ago I ran through the winter months. I'd bundle up and go. Last year I chickened out and used the high school fitness center (thankful for an indoor option). I don't know what happened this year. Actual, I do know what happened. Endometriosis. I know it's not all the's also mental. And somehow I just haven't had that mental drive to bust through the barriers I've unfortunately set for myself.

Running isn't what it used to be for me. I wish it was. At the same time I'm glad it's not. Such mixed feelings on the subject. I want to run. I want to run another half marathon. I don't know if I will, but I'm keeping my options open. I'd like to think if I had a "race" to train for it'd be fire under my butt to get out.

With all that being said....guess what?! I took a run outside today. I was about to get ready to head over to the 'rents to ride the bike and something in me said, "Go outside and run." I'll admit I took a second and said to myself, "Are you crazy? It's still cold outside." The the other half said, "Do it." At that moment I thought, "I better go before I talk myself out of it." And so I bundled myself up and took a run outside. I didn't go very far, but I did it. I didn't know how it'd be after taking such a long break from running. I thought I'd go back to square one. Well, it wasn't square one, but it was rough. Let's just say, lots of snot, lots of spit, and the challenge of fighting back the thoughts of "Why the hell am I doing this," or "Just stop running," and replacing them with, "Yes! I'm actually running! I'm so proud of myself."

As said before, my running has not only been limited by my mental thoughts, but also physically. My guess is I'm not out of my running funk. Who knows, it may be another 2 months before my next run.....depending on my mental strength and endometriosis flare ups. But today, in this moment, I'm going to take this run as a personal triumph, as I say, "Take that Endo!"

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad!

I was glad that today was dad's birthday and I was able to spend most of the day with him. For lunch we went to Mr. Smith's. There was talk on Facebook about him wanting a fire truck on his 5th birthday, but receiving a sister, Val, instead. So for his birthday he received a fire truck.....
Later I went over to the 'rents for dinner. Afterwards we sang Happy Birthday to dad and ate the german chocolate cake I made.
Although Sloopy couldn't have the chocolate cake, he appreciated licking the frosting container. We tied his ears back to keep him clean.All in all I think it was a great day for dad. Dad, I love you and Happy Birthday!

Friday, January 01, 2010

Who Says We Don't Have Kids?

Back when we were first married we were able to sleep in until whatever time we wanted. Even after we added Viking to the mix he never woke us up early to go potty (thanks to litter box training) or to eat (must not have been a hungry fellow). Adding more animals to the family didn't seem to change things much, until we added Lily. Lily's issues with IBD lead us to puppy proof our house. Not from her chewing things up, but from making unexpected messes she could control. In order to let her sleep by us we purchased a Pack and Play. We'd wake up in the middle of the night to clean up any messes for our sake and hers. I even went through a year of making her own homemade food. Cooking, measuring, packing, and freezing. As everyone knows, she has gotten 99.9% better. She'll sleep with us here and there, but tends to stay downstairs now.

After adding Spencer to the mix, our lifestyle once again changed. He has a set time for meds, eating, and going outside to go potty. And trust me, if you are off of his schedule, he'll let you know. Needless to say, his schedule is an early one. He'll let you know by pacing in the bedroom and sticking his wet cold nose in your face. In addition, Lily has taken to his schedule and oftentimes takes it upon herself to let us know what time it is if Spencer decides to slack off. Her method of wake up? Standing at the bottom of the steps barking until you wake up. Most times the cats join in too....meowing outside the bedroom door. It makes almost no difference if you go to bed early or later, they'll wake up between 6 or 7 am (if you're lucky).

For instance, we stayed up until midnight last night. Sure enough, 6am rolls around and they are wound up and ready to go. Time for potty and to eat! I'm thankful that most nights we can make it through the night without a wake up from them now. I'm also thankful that we've figured out some sort of schedule for the weekends. David and I flip back and forth as to who gets up, feeds them, lets Spencer go outside, and then head back to bed.

Add onto the early morning wake ups and schedules, the constant cleaning (putting toys away, vacuuming hair, washing bedding, washing bowls.......), having 2 crib mattresses in our house (Spencer's beds), and their afternoon naps (as we speak)......who says we don't have kids?

Disclaimer: We know full well that animals aren't' kids and understand that people see their pets/animals different than we see ours. However, in our eyes, we see our pets as our kids. We know that many people cannot identify with the bond that we have with our pets. In addition, in no way am I complaining about the lifestyle we've made for ourselves by adding our pets. We wouldn't change it for the world.