Friday, March 30, 2007

Was I Freaking Out? YES!

I had PT this morning. After my exercises, the therapist massages my battle-scarred right side to try to make the scar tissue more flexible. When she started rubbing, this red bump along my incisional scar broke open and started oozing pus. She drained it as best she could, cleaned it up with alcohol, and put a bandage on it. So no massage today.

I called in a refill on an antibiotic I have, and called in a report to Dr. Half-Boob's office. He's on vacation.

PT Bruiser said she didn't see a need to actually go to a DR. She said she would recheck it at our first visit next week.

Why has it been nothing but trouble on the right side?

Ennis is still acting crummy and clingy. Jim is still doing great; getting antsy that I'm not working on taxes.

Got a call last night from my lawn cutting guy. He came out to see what kind of work it would take to get the neighbor's
monkey balls (the seed pod of the sweet gum tree) raked out of my yard.

He quoted me $280. I said no, last year you said $190, and I didn't have you do it; a group of neighborhood women headed over with rakes to help me. He said $200; I said OK. He said next week. I hope we have a huge windstorm before then to knock some more of these things out of the trees.

Last year was so cool. I wanted to get the yard cleaned before my first surgery put me under. These neighbors knew my situation. One would show up, and then another, and then another. Apparently there were phone calls made. In total we had 5 people raking and we got it done in maybe 4 hours. They were so sweet to help.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A few more days; a few more things done

I've had 2 PT sessions so far this week. PT Bruiser tells me I may never regain full range of motion or strength on my right side because of the large amounts of muscle that was taken during my surgeries. Thank you so much Dr. Half-Boob!!

Yesterday, a guy friend and I moved a chest of drawers from Jim's condo to my house. My God, good furniture is heavy. Thank goodness this guy is very strong. He also took away my lawn mower to tune it up and hopefully straighten the shaft that got bent 2 years ago.

I have finally gotten my homework done on broadband internet access and ordered a bundled service (TV,Internet, Phone) from Comcast cable. 2 year commitment. It won't be installed until next Wednesday, then Charles the computer geek will come in to upgrade some of my software and add additional memory.

Before that all happens, I need to clean up some files and back everything up.

My desk is still a mess, but I am getting some things done. The draft of my will came, and I've been pouring through that, as well identifying assets and actual and desired beneficiaries.

Ennis is still really inactive and inappetant. The limping continues, although he did RACE down one set of stairs this morning, for what I don't know.

The Hospice nurse comes tomorrow. Another possibility for Jim to get kicked out. This Hospice has been nothing but extremely responsive. Should Jim or I ever have another need for (and qualify for) Hospice, we will have no qualms about going back to this place.

Today I went to NJ to visit Kris and her charming daughter. I visited with Kris and her pets until her daughter got home from preschool, then we had lunch and did a touch of shopping. Yet another lamp to find a place for. I really needed to eat. I haven't for several days, and even my smallest jeans are starting to sag down to my hips.

While I was out, Jim drove himself to his drinking club (he drinks cranberry juice or ginger ale). He was out a couple of hours. He got cleared by the DR yesterday to drive. He said he felt comfortable driving by himself. That is a huge step!!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Yesterday's Driving Adventure

I am glad that Jim is as concerned about his ability to drive as I am.

We went down to the Merchandise Mart (for those local people who know the place; for those that don't it's a years' old almost completely abandoned outside mall).

Did the emergency stopping, weaving around lamp-posts, pulling in forwards and backwards into parking speaces, including next to parked cars. Jim said he felt comfortable in his car.

When he got onto the street, he was not all that comfortable and I took over the driving after we stopped for brunch.

Jim intends to call his GP on Tuesday for a driving "clearance." I may call Monday and ask the DR to suggest a session or 2 with a driving instructor on the roads.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

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Thank you all for watching out for us.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Today, Jim had a physical therapist evaluate him for driving, and he said he is going to recommend to Jim's GP that he is OK to drive. YESSSHH!! NOOOOOO!!

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I really don't want him hurting himself or others. Sure there are ALOT of people on the roads who are worse off than Jim, but....

We were instructed to take him out to a large vacant parking lot this weekend so he could "get the hang" of driving again. We have a high school nearby.

Jim's biggest problem right now with mobility is the return of osteoarthritis pain in his knees. It was suppressed when he was on prednisone. The GI DR won't authorize a small dose of pred until after Jim's next visit in 2 months. For the time being, we have started him on glucosamine.

I am really procrastinating on calling the vet to deal with this "mass" in Ennis's abdomen. I just can't face the financial and emotional strain that an ultrasound, a fine needle aspiration, and perhaps a surgery would put me (and Ennis) through. He had a hard time with an exploratory surgery 2 years ago. He never really got back to himself.

I'm OK. I failed to take my pills last night, and haven't eaten again for 3 days. Well there was that one Turtle left from my Valentine's gift.

My assignment from the counselor on Monday was to (1) get a tuneup on my computer, including switching to a broadband service and (2) to contact my major client and explain where I am in getting nothing done on their product.

These 3 things (Ennis and the 2 assignments) are overwhelming to me. But I just have to buckle down and do them. I haven't backed up my computer for a year, and should it crash, the entire contents of a book I was working on until last spring would completely diappear. So would all the contact info I have on my friends at FDMB.

So my assignment to myself in the morning, before PT at 10am, is to backup.

Then I start making a list of the things I need the computer geek to do to upgrade my system, and call him for an appointment next week. I still am confused whether to go with cable or telephone line for Broadband, but I think I'm leaning toward cable. I will switch over my phone too so that I get their "introductory" package of $100 a month for all 3 services (phone, digital cable, internet) for a year.

What do I do if the cable goes down, as it is prone to do a few times a year for a day or two. Can I still keep dial-up as a backup? I doubt I can if the phone is on cable. I do now have a cell phone. Maybe I just have to go to the library for Internet access.

Not Another Problem--Please

Ennis went to the vet on Tuesday. His 6 month (a little late) wellness check. I scheduled it because he's been kind of down after losing Maxie. I also was worried; I didn't want to miss something that could be fixed if found early. Ennis also has been limping, and I wanted to get a fPLI test for pancreatic function. Dr. Alan said that he advises clients that cats can take up to 2 months to "recover" from the loss of another cat in the "pack."

Eyes OK
Ears waxy, but OK
Teeth horrible, needs a dental. Might want to put him on prophylactic ABs.

Abdomen, near the stomache, there a small mass.

That's when my brain flew out of my head. Dr. Alan knew I did not need to hear this again. I just heard "large mass" a month ago and now Maxie is gone.

Abdominal X-Rays. Also an X-ray of his limpy leg.

While they are off taking Ennis's X-Rays, I read through the chart. Yes! He had exploratory surgery 2 summers ago, maybe it is scar tissue, but near his stomache? That can't be right. It was his bowel that was opened (by a different vet). Also, 8 months ago Dr. Alan noted in the records that there was a small mass near the stomache. I don't remember being told that.

Abdominal X-Rays showed nothing of note. Dr. Alan recommended against an ultrasound at this point, as long as Ennis is not vomiting, which he isn't. Loose stool, but that is likely stress from Max and getting some different food each day as I try to keep him interested in food. And dealing with the pet food recall.

Leg X-Ray showed a touch of osteoarthritis in his knee joint, nothing in his shoulder. Given some sort of glucosamine powder for his food, and the suggestion of x% of a baby aspirin once or twice a day. I will have to call back on that. Also, we never followed up on the antibiotics. (Remember, I said my brain flew out of my head).

They are sending the fPLI through Antech Labs, not directly to Texas A&M, so that only adds $40 to the cost.

Well, yes, sure I want a senior panel and a urinalysis!! Ennis was too squirmy (fractious, hissing and growling at everyone) to get too much blood, so they have to run the lab in house (bigger bucks again). And no urine, AGAIN. How does this happen. This is a diabetic cat who hasn't peed for at least 4 hours. There should be something in there!!

After discussions with people on the FDMB, I know I need to take him for an ultrasound and, if appropriate, a fine needle aspiration. So I need to talk to Dr. Alan to get a referral to the radiologist at the specialty center. I just can't wrap my head around this right now.

Started back to PT yesterday. My right side is one massive scarred up mess, such tightness that I have diminished range of motion in my arm. I will see PT Bruiser 3x/week, when I can, and massage myself (to "break up" the scar tissue) on the days I don't see her.

Jim and Lily continue to thrive. Jim goes for his driver's evaluation this morning. I don't know whether to hope he passes or fails. I do worry about him, and his safety, and other peoples' safety.

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Summary Update, for Those on FDMB

Jim, my husband, is in end-stage liver failure. We don't know what miracle happened but he has his mind and most of his body back. He still has some blood values out of whack, but I believe his sheer will, an appropriate diet and fluids, and an adjustment in medication, has brought him through the crisis. He still has problems with his gait (he won't exercise). He is in a Hospice program, but I doubt that will last much longer. He is very independent, and his Hospice aide and he get him and his living space cleaned up, and get him breakfast, within 45 minutes each morning.

Jim gets a physical therapy evaluation on Thursday to see whether he is capable of driving. His condo is on the market; I posted a link below.

I have (or had) Stage IIIa breast cancer. I have had two mastectomies, chemo, and radiation on one side. I was going to have breast reconstruction with silicone implants, but my skin on the right side was so damaged from the radiation that the plastic surgeon did not do anything on that side. I still have pain there and will start physical therapy again this week to try to overcome the tightness and pain. Once the swelling and pain is gone (might be quite a few months), I will consult with another plastic surgeon and get a prosthesis for that side. I still have no feeling in my finger tips and toes from the chemo. Makes it a little tough to type.

My GP has upped my anti-depression meds, and wants to see me now every month. I have started couseling because of my disappointment over the failed implant.

We lost Max about 10 days ago to pancreatic-origin cancer. He got very sick very quickly after it was DX, although it likely had been affecting him for a long time. Jim and I grieved terribly for about 5 days, but now we are pulling our lives back together. (I lost another 4 pounds, which I didn't need.) We have not yet received Max’s cremains, and are very anxious to get them.

Ennis, Max’s diabetic littermate, seems to miss him a lot, and has been pretty clingy. He also stopped eating for awhile, but that’s been resolved. He is limping, like he has some soft tissue damage. Also vocalizing more. He’s going to the vet tomorrow.

Lily loves Max being gone. He used to terrify her. But now she’s another rung up on the power ladder.

Registration: I have removed from this blog the requirement to register. But should you make a comment, please identify yourself using a name I would recognize. Otherwise, I might delete it as spam.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

WooHoo. Condo on the Market!

The listing is here. There are no pictures yet; but they will be there.

Showings start tomorrow or Tuesday.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

A Tribute to Maxie, My Best Boy

This was sent to me by dear friends who don't post here, but who follow our blog.

by Jim Willis, copyright 2002
(I hope I'm not violating copyright laws, but this poem is all over the Internet)

So this is where we part, My Friend,
and you'll run on, around the bend,
gone from sight, but not from mind,
new pleasures there you'll surely find.

I will go on, I'll find the strength,
life measures quality, not its length.
One long embrace before you leave,
share one last look, before I grieve.

There are others, that much is true,
but they be they, and they aren't you.
And I, fair, impartial, or so I thought,
will remember well all you've taught.

Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,
the fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
take with you this.... I loved you best.

I do try not to make favorites, but Max was mine. He was such a happy loving cat.He should have been here longer. 14 years was not nearly enough.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Saw GP Yesterday

She seems glad I have fallen apart. She said it was spooky that I was going through what I had been going through the last year and staying so stoic and in control. What an off thing for her to say; but I think she was just trying to give me "permission." She also raised my antidepressant dose, but refused to change the med because she said she thought it was working for me.

Now instead of our normal 2 month visit cycle, we are back on a one month cycle. SIGH.

I started working yesterday on trying to list all my cash assets, identify who presently was named as beneficiary, and figure out the rules for sending different assets to different places to minimize the taxable events at my death. I am an accountant, and I do my best at reading tax codes and publications, but I need some realiable, plain English advise about my questions. I talked to one fellow at a major mutual fund company today, asking questions about inheritance situations, and it was clear (to me) he didn't have a clue what he was talking about.

I really hate to hire a tax CPA to help me figure this out. I did that once when I was trying to set up the depreciation schedule for my home-based business, and that was pricey. And that I could write off as a business expense. This I couldn't.

Jim was scheduled for his driver's evaluation this morning, but we are supposed to have a "wintery mix" and he doesn't want to travel the hour each way it would take. So I have to reschedule him.

Ennis goes to the vet today, maybe. The appt is for 2pm, and I had wanted to get an fPLI blood test on him, which requires fasting, and there is no way that that chow hound would have fasted until 2pm. Depending on what the weather does, I may reschedule to a morning appt next week, or just take him in this PM and not do the fPLI, or do it non-fasting.

For the non-diabetic cat people reading this (and maybe for some of them), an fPLI test is a specialty test done at the University of Texas. It tests the pancreatic function of the cat. The pancrease is the primary organ involved in the production (or non-production) of insulin, which keep blood sugar levels down.

When Max went into remission from diabetes, I had this test run on him, and his values were higher (worse) than anyone I spoke to had ever seen. But he was asymptomatic for diabetes and pancreatitis (another disease of the pancres). I wanted the test re-run, I suspected sample contamination, but the vet said save your money, you know he has a diseased pancreas, but the part that is functioning is functioning very well.

Well, one year later Max passed from a pancreatic-origin tumor, considered rare in cats. Makes me wonder if the fPLI test results were telling us something early on.

Given genetics, given Ennis (Max's littermate) is actively diabetic, I want to check out where he is on the fPLI.

Ennis also seems depressed and is limping. It's also been 6 months since he's had an exam. Time to go.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

We Went to the Lawyer Today

Wowza!! What headaches we had, and exhausted.

I am trying to set up a trust with my assets to make sure Jim is appropriately cared for in a home setting should I predecease him. I have promised him no nursing home. But I also want whatever is left over to go to my brother who has MS, because he also has serious medical needs.

We had to talk about the tax effects of this asset vs. that asset going into the trust, and an arrangement for selling my house and how anything outside of the “trust” that I will to Jim would go to Jim’s heirs, not my brother, unless he changes his will or the beneficiaries on certain accounts.

My head is really jumbled about this, and I am sure I will need another meeting with this lawyer (who is very good) to figure out how I am supposed to designate beneficiaries on retirement and other accounts and assets that allow me to do designate beneficiaries.

I have 2 very special people in my life, both with serious illnesses. Should I pass before them, I want to help take care of them. There is a lot of “trust” in the arrangement that I am setting up, but I do trust them. Well at least I trust Jim while he has mental capacity, as he does now. If that goes, then my brother is in charge of the trust for Jim. I hate to put that burden on my brother, but I have no one else to put in this situation, and the lawyer recommended against a professional trustee (like a bank) because of the fees.

My prayers are with both of them should I go first that they do the right thing by each other. I love them both, deeply. They both know that, and they will, I know, respect my wishes. The lawyer also knows that should I pass before Jim, there are some things Jim needs to do to make sure my wishes are honored. They aren’t legally binding. I can do little to “reach out from the grave,” as the lawyer puts it. But I can express my intent in my will, as a “reminder” to everyone involved.

By the way, I am not planning to go anywhere soon.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

We Still are Recovering from Losing Maxman

When Jim and I, or I, come into the house now, it is strangely quiet.

No Maxie greeting us, even a delayed greeting as he was prone to the last few weeks.

Ennis sleeping in his bed on the desk. Lily who knows where.

Ennis has started howling. A very mournful, painful howl. Just a few times a day. Is he missing Max, or is he ill? I suspect the former, but I have set up a vet appt for him in about 10 days.

Kris has asked me to come to her side of the DE river for a lunch soon. Jim and I were in the drug store today and I found the cutest little Ty beanie baby for Kris's daughter.

A lamb in a tutu and ballet shoes. So ugly it's cute. Maybe the daughter will name her after me. The stuffed rabbit we sent her after the photo shoot got named Mr. Davies, after Jim (even though that's not exactly Jim's last name). This child is such a doll, but it's not my place to put a picture of her (or her name) on here. But she is a camera hound, and was grinning ear-to-ear with Mr. Davies, the stuffed rabbit.

My goodness, this shift to DST has me all discombobulated. It always does. Why can't we just choose one or the other, or split the difference, and stop all this time change nonsense? Click and Clack (CarTalk on NPR) about a year suggested a split time shift: 1/2 hour in March and another 1/2 hour in April or May. I would vote for that over what we have now.

And because I haven't upgraded my computer's operating system, it was so stupid that it didn't change time today. I did it manually. And in 3 weeks, when it thinks it is time-shift time, I will have to manually reset it again.

I hate computers.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Feeling Oddly Relieved

Max was DX diabetic 7/25/05. I was well, and I poured my heart into learning about his disease and by 1/1/06, he was thankfully in remission.

Not too long after I was DX with breast cancer, Max was DX with early chronic renal failure (CRF). I didn't have the time or energy to put into learning about that disease, and I never could get Max accustomed to the treatment regimen he was prescribed, except for the blood pressure pills which he would gladly snarf up in pill pockets.

The next vet visit showed his CRF had progressed. At the time, Jim was into liver failure so I continued to put off Max's treatment, but my lack of care was gnawing at me. He started losing weight and appetite and I again thought progressing CRF. Got him to the vet maybe a month past his "due date," again other obligations, and that is when his tumor was found. A rushed appt for an ultrasound confirmed inoperable cancer.

17 days from initial tentative diagnosis to euthanasia. 17 days of watching my best boy just slip away.

I probably shouldn't, but I feel relieved to have that burden off my shoulders. Of course I also am sick in my stomach from losing him. But he wasn't my Max anymore, and it got more and more that way everyday, and there was not going too be anyway to "cure" this one.

Fly free Maxwell, Maxie, Max, Maxomine, my fat-faced boy, my cat in footy pajamas, sweet pea, my best boy. When I first brought you and Ennis home, I never thought you would be able to worm your way into my heart, but you did. I still have Ennis who wlll be a daily reminder of you, his littermate. Let's hope Ennis doesn't continue to walk down your health path. Treating Ennis for diabetes is enough, and something I know I can handle with my eyes closed, because you taught me so very, very well.

Thank you for going peacefully. Thank you for not suffering too much from the cancer while I worked out MY emotions about setting you free. Thank you for continuing to love me through those last two rugged weeks. Thank you for having loved me, and for worming your way into my heart.

Please look for Charlie and Blanche. You never met them, but my losing them was the reason I found you and Ennis. You need to thank them for sending you to me. Also look for your buddy Bailey, and let him know I miss him too.

And please come to see me in my dreams.

Max is Gone

He actually had a good night; slept with me, ate a mid-night snack; was holding his tail up.

He passed peacefully on my bed, on my chemo lap throw, with me holding his head and whispering in his ear. The mobile vet, who we had never used before, was very caring and didn't rush us at all.

Kris and the vet and I took three watercolor paw prints between the sedation and the barbituate.

Thanks to all for your kind words. A very special thanks to Kris for coming to hold me together.

Link to announcement on FDMB.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Maxie is Leaving

Tomorrow. 9am vet appt at my house. This is so incredibly difficult.

Kris is coming to be with me during the procedure. I know it will be easy on Max, but I really don't want him to leave. He is my best boy.

Found my Eyeglasses

They were on a window sill in the guest bedroom where I feed Max and Lily dry food. I must have taken them off to pill Max.

I see Dr. Half-Boob this morning. We see a realtor at Jim's condo this afternoon. I am glad he is putting the condo on the market, but I have no idea where we are going to store all his stuff, unless I just make a huge storage area out of my living room. No that won't work, because that won't show well if I put my house on the market. But I could use some of his furniture here at the house.

We are talking about, in the late summer/fall, putting my house on the market and buying a ranch. A huge sprawling ranch so I can have my side of the house and Jim can have his. Might need to build a Berlin wall. I love my house now so much; I've put so much into the yard. I really hate to start all over.

Jim's DR approved him yesterday for an occupational therapist to give him a driving evaluation. I have to check with hospice about whether his being on Hospice will interfere with Medicare paying for this (if Medicare even would). I don't think Jim is ready for driving yet, but it would be nice if he could, for example, take himself for his weekly blood draws.

We also got a scrip for a blood draw to check his platelet and red and white blood cell counts. He has a dental cleaning next week, and the dentist and I wanted to make sure he was OK for the scraping that could lead to gum bleeding.

DR also wants him on vitamin C for his thin skin/skin tears.

So things are chugging along here.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Now I've Lost my Eyeglasses

Jim and I searched all over for them this morning. Nowhere in sight (but then I have no sight without my glasses).

Thank goodness the old/spare pair that I keep in the car work reasonably well.

Jim and I went out yesterday for a "trash lunch" (cheesesteaks--completely not allowed on his diet), and took them to his "drinking club" so he could see his buddies. Jim only drinks cranberry juice at the club these days.

Today, he has a 10am with his GP, who he sees monthly, and maybe an appt with a realtor to talk about putting his condo on the market. He knows he cannot do the 14 steps that it would take to get up to his bedroom/full bathroom.

Max continues to hold on. He has such a thirst, that I keep water bowls around everywhere. He's moving mighty slowly. And his belly is getting bigger, telling me that either the tumor is growing larger or he has internal bleeding. His ears, nose, toes, and gums still look pink, so I suspect the former. I'm not sure what "comfort" measures to do about that. I'll call the vet to see if there are choices. He also continues to be very difficult to "pill."

As for me, I saw the counselor on Monday. This is going to be a process because all I could do the full hour way cry about my woes: inattentive to Jim, Max's illness, my depression. I did make a handwritten list of the chaos/clutter areas in my life, and she agreed that I needed to subdivide them into manageable "chunks." For example, I can't just write "clean the garage." I have to subdivide it into "deal with the cardboard boxes," "deal with the styrofoam packing," "deal with the planting containers," etc.

She thought me planning the Longwood Gardens trip was great. Someplace to direct my energy. And she loves the support I get from the FDMB.

This counselor is such a baby. She's got to be in her 20s. I asked her what she does on the days she isn't doing counseling at the Cancer Center. She teaches at the University of Delaware. Where was my head; of course that is what PhD candidates do.

I really would prefer someone older and closer than Dr. Emotion. But she has hands on experience with cancer "victims" two days a week. I asked her whether I was unique in the pit I am in right now. She said I was, a little, although many cancer patients have coping issues. But she said the extra load of Jim, the change in our living arrangements, and my sick cats puts me right down there in the bottom of the pit.

I showed her Kris's video of Max. I told her I had moved my medications to my desk, where I spend most of my time, so that I could better remember to take them. We talked about things Jim could do around the house to help ME a little more. But she also agreed that, in many cases, men are men (that is, the center of the universe).

Not sure what more to say. I just wish the cats wouldn't wake me every night around 3am for food. Once I get up, I'm up, and I do really need to rest.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I Flunked my Counseling Assignments

I see the counselor again tomorrow.

I had only 3 assignments for the last 2 weeks.

1. Take my pills everyday on time. I have messed up maybe 3 times.

2. Clean off the kitchen table so I might be encourage to eat a meal in a pleasant environment. I did get most of the table cleaned off. I don't know what to do with the boxes and instructions for the cell phone and digital camera I got this summer. And now a DVD that Simon (Jazzman) had a friend send to me so I could play Region 2 DVDs is there also.

3. Make a list of all the other chaos and clutter places in my house/life so that I can start to work on cleaning those up. I haven't even started, except in my head.

I have been trying to clean up my work desk and get my bills paid. I have been spending quality time with Max (and some not so quality time as I pill and syringe feed him).

I have been inattentive to Jim, although I did fry him a cheeseburger for dinner tonight, after he complained that he would have to make himself a cold sandwich AGAIN. I have been working on organizing the Longwood Gardens trip. I have been inattentive to Ennis, being very inconsistent with his insulin shots.

I did take care of the flood in Jim's bathroom today when he flushed the toilet and the water didn't go down and the tank flap didn't seal and I came down and said "why did you leave the faucet running" and then found 2 inches of water on the floor, and into two adjacent rooms.

My comforter and blanket are in the dryer and I'm not sure I will be able to have the strength or memory to go down to get them before I crash here soon.

So much to do. So little getting done. I have never been this ineffective before. (Well there was one time years ago when I couldn't function for 6 months and despite all the tests the DR did, he couldn't figure out what the problem was.)

Why am I this way? Is it chemo and radiation treatment residual? Is it the disappointment over the failed implant surgery. Is it having Jim in the house 24/7? Could it be some metastatic disease that is just wearing me down? For the past couple weeks, I've been woken several times during the night with painful cramps in my feet and legs. I have to get up and do those stretches against the wall. I took a sleeping pill last night, and only got 5 hours out of it.

I cancelled my plastic surgeon appt last week because I couldn't handle it. I cancelled the lawyer appt for tomorrow because I couldn't handle it. I have to drive Jim out for blood tests tomorrow morning, and I really don't want to do it.

I haven't eaten for 2 days.

How in the world am I going to get out of this pit I am in?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Today's Report

Max and I took a slow walk in the yard today. He loves the porch, and usually tries to bolt into the yard, and this time I let him go. He's moving so slow, but he enjoyed eating the onion grass and was ready to come back in after about 5 minutes.

He is slowly going; not eating well. I tried some syringe feeding this morning and that seemed to get him stimulated to eat some on his own. I am giving him EVO dry, but he is having a hard time picking the pieces out of the bowl to put on the floor, where he eats them. A little while ago, though, he threw up his food, then came on the desk incredibly wobbly and anxious. I gave him Pepcid AC and a pain pill. I told him several times that it is OK to go, and that he needs to tell me.

Jim continues to be fine. I wish he would do some exercising to help with his balance, but he won't. He sees his GP next week, and we need to ask for protocol on having his teeth cleaned. We may need a blood test for platelet count to make sure he's not susceptible to bleeding.

I am better than yesterday because Max seems in less distress. Yesterday, I was almost ready to call for a euthanasia appointment. He's was more active earlier today. I had a dental cleaning this morning and GOLD STAR: no restorative work to be done. I do still have dry mouth from chemo or the anti-depressants and the dentist suggested I start using the Biotene mouthwash and drops again.

This is one of the pictures Kris took of the two cancer victims here. (The one above and below also are by her, bless her heart.) You can see how badly maimed my right side is. I still have discomfort from the radiation, but it doesn't reach the level of pain that I had when the expander was in. (If you want to see larger images, you can click on the image.) The dark areas are the radiation burn. The very dark area in the center of the whole mess is where I am concave, not flat. I really hope no more women on this planet get breast cancer; what a fantasy.

This is Max with his pink string. I had tied a fur mouse on the end of a 200 foot roll of pink twine. For years that has been his favorite toy. He would get the mouse from its spot in the bedroom, and start howling that he had "made a kill," and drag the string throughout the house, things like taking it down 2 flights of stairs and wrapping it around chair legs. Every morning, I would have to rewrap the twine roll, and we would have the same thing next night. Sometimes in the daytime. He doesn't play with the pink string anymore.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Pics from Kris--Not

Kris sent me the most fabulous video of her time here photographing Max and me, set to music. I haven't a clue on how to attach it to this blog, so I won't. But I wanted to show you some of the images on the video.

Well, I tried, but Blogger couldn't seem to make it happen without alot of effort. I'll try another way later, because Kris did a fabulous job.

I'm sure it's my dialup that's causing the problem.

The Last Couple of Days

Kris, one of our FDMB friends, came Tuesday to do some "final" pics of Max. She's sending all the pics and a slide show put to music. She warned that I may not want to watch the slide show now. THANK YOU KRIS!!

Max is drugged. I'm not sure pain pills are helping or hurting him. I tried one type yesterday, and he was lethargic and won't eat, even the junk food. Another type last night and he has been staring into space, almost immobile, with the most dialated eyes ever since. Nothing seems to be helping; he is just fading. I have brought a bowl of water onto the desk next to his bed, and he is drinking.

Max went to the Alternative/Holistic vet on Tuesday. Got an acupuncture. No massage, because we don't want to start an abdominal bleed. She gave me Chinese herbs to put into his food (no can do if not eating) and a "tincture" to syringe into him. (Why am I torturing him?) She also wanted to do high dose Intravenous Vitamin C. That would have been 3 days in a row for 4-5 hours a day. I declined; torture again. Neither she nor the mobile vet have a blood pressure machine. CRAP! One said they were too expensive (what? you take hundreds of dollars from me and you can't afford a couple thousand dollar piece of tax deductible equipment?) and the other said she and the salesman couldn't get the one she wanted to buy to work consistently. SIGH.

The mobile vet said she could come to the home for a euthanasia with a day's notice. She usually travels with her children, but not for that procedure, so she would have to find a sitter. She's the only mobile vet I've been able to find in the area. She also doesn't do the barbituates by IV. She injects them directly into the heart. That bothers me.

As for Jim; he's great. We see the Hospice nurse this morning and expect he will be discharged. That's OK; we can call them back any time. He doesn't need any significant care right now.

I'm still depressed from my failed implant surgery and now Max's condition. I see Dr. Half Boob this afternoon. That will likely be the last I see of him. I will ask about his new partner, but I have the name of another breast reconstructive surgeon I could see for a 2nd opinion. But that's down the road. Kris did take some pics of my "surgical results." Max and me; the 2 cancer "victims." I do feel like a victim now, with the huge hole on my right side with skin that is as red as a cherry. I hope they come out like a Diane Arbus "freak" picture, because that's what I feel like right now.

I know this isn't a happy post, but I guessed some were wondering where I have been.

By the way, I am starting to hate this curly hair. It's at a completely unmanageable length.