Saturday, November 29, 2008

Christmas Trees and Ice Cream Cake

Although today is my birthday, I celebrated it yesterday with my family while my brother and his fiance were in town.

Andrew and I set up the Christmas tree (it was my birthday present from him last year), and he put the lights out on the balcony. I love our tree. We both have our "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments. I have my "Puppy Love" ornaments that I've collected throughout the years, and he has ornaments from preschool and high school. We also have the Peanuts ornaments we painted together last year, as well as engagement ornaments and "Our First Christmas" ornaments. The tree definitely has "us" hung all over it.

Finally, I topped the tree with my Grandma's Christmas point.

Andrew ran out to Cold Stone to pick out an ice cream cake for me, and my dad arrived at 5 with pizza and pop. Soon, my mom, Andy and Erin came, and we had fun talking and eating for a few hours. I had a few gifts to open, and I received a cookie and brownie recipe book, a new beater attachment for my Kitchenaid that scrapes the sides of the bowl, the movie "Polar Express," and some new running pants. Good stuff!

I definitely had a great birthday celebration. Today, Andrew and I are going to kick back and relax and play some games for day 2 of my birthday festivities.

Update on Bailey: Bailey's doing well! She almost slept through the night and is even napping now. Her incision still appears to be healing nicely, and she's starting to walk and act like her normal self. She's still on pain medication, though, and still isn't allowed to jump up or down or use stairs.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I'm Sorry They Took You Away

Handing Bailey over to the vet was the hardest thing, ever. She was upset and scared, but I knew it was for her own good. Still, so hard.

I heard updates throughout Wednesday night and Thursday morning. Everyone told me she was doing so well but was definitely suffering from separation anxiety. Her oncologist, Dr. Marie, ran with me for half a mile of the Turkey Trot and told me she went to check on Bailey Wednesday evening, and Bailey leaped into her arms as soon as she opened her cage.

I thought about her all the time, and I couldn't wait to pick her up. When the moment finally came, I could hear her jingle bells ringing as she got closer to my waiting room. She really did look great. Drowsy, doped up, and scared, but otherwise really great.

Every hour, she shows improvement. At first, she did nothing but whimper (don't worry, she's on lots of pain medication!). After a few hours, she was willing and able to lay down. Finally, she was able to sleep and get some rest. Last night, she started eating a bit, and by this morning, her hunger had returned and she was able to eat. Later this morning, she started drinking and pooped, and now she's even showing interest in her toys.

It's definitely going to be a slow recovery. On Monday, she gets some staples removed. Next weekend, they'll remove her stitches.

I'm attaching a picture of her from about an hour ago. It was the first time she laid on her back, so I seized the opportunity to take a picture of her incision.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Longest Days

I've spent the last few days at the animal hospital again. Sunday, I came home to a dog whimpering. She couldn't lay down or go down the stairs. I couldn't take her into the vet since it was the weekend, but I also knew I couldn't wait until the next day to take her in. So we went to the animal hospital.

It took a while for them to see us. There were a few major cases, including one zealous puppy who swallowed a stick his owner threw for him and got it stuck in his throat (we found out later he was going to be just fine, although he'd need a lot of pain medication!). When it was Bailey's turn, I told the vet about the arthritis in her paws and the history of mammory tumors. She played with Bailey's joints and her neck and back. None bothered Bailey, but when the vet touched her stomach, she freaked out. They had to muzzle her! It looked like the cancer was back.

They doped up Bailey with pain meds and gave me some to take home until she could see the oncologist today (Tuesday). I had to beg and plead with a man at work to cover my shift so I could get in for the appointment, and my mom was able to take half of a day off of work to go with me.

After hours of testing and waiting for results, we heard some semi-good news. Yes, her tumors were back, and yes, they were causing her pain, but they hadn't metastisized and could be removed with surgery. All her other organs were in excellent condition and she's in otherwise great health, leading them to determine that surgery was a really good option for her.

So Bailey goes back to the hospital first thing tomorrow. They're going to remove all her lower breast tissue and do a lumpectomy for the two smaller lumps up higher. It's going to be a pretty major surgery, and she's going to have a long recovery, but they think she will completely recover from this.

I feel so much better than I did yesterday and Sunday night. I'm scared for tomorrow, but I feel so grateful that the rest of her body is healthy and that I have the rest of the week off to care for her (what an amazing coincidence! Sometimes, those things just work out). So much to be grateful for! Happy thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

She Didn't Poop

Throughout our first year at the apartment complex, Andrew and I were frequently grossed out by the doggy poop surprises left around the courtyard. Winter made it easy (at least we could see it and not step in it!), but it was still gross.

Andrew and I always clean up after Bailey. Always. Well, there was the one time she had diarrhea, and it couldn't be done. So I suppose I should say always minus one.

One day, about two months ago or so, I was out in the courtyard, and Bailey squatted to pee. She's old and a bit arthritic, so her back is a little hunched, and it takes her longer than all the younger dogs. As she got up, and we headed inside, I thought I heard a woman yell, "Clean up after it!" But I couldn't see anyone, and thought it might have been something else.

Well, yesterday, we were out in the courtyard again, and again, Bailey peed. We moved on to another grassy area, when a woman stepped out onto her balcony and yelled to me, "Aren't you going to clean it up?"

I looked up at her, perplexed, and said, "Uh, she peed."

"It looked like she pooped."

I held up the green poop bag I was carrying in my hand and said, "No, sorry, she's old and arthritic. That's how she pees. Don't worry, I have a poop bag."

The woman looked at me, said, "Well, I thought she'd pooped," and turned and went inside.

On the one hand, I admire her for having the courage to confront someone who doesn't clean up after a pet. On the other hand, I thought she could have been nicer to me after I cleared up the issue and maybe (perhaps) even apologized.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yes, We Did!

Too early to call? I don't think so!

Let's get ready to make some positive change!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Chatfield Reservoir

Yesterday afternoon was the perfect time for a run. It was about 60 degrees out, but the sun was covered by clouds and there was no wind.

My mom and I went to the Chatfield Reservoir for a little run, just to check out the trails for our big 10 mile race taking place on the 15th. It's a beautiful place to jog (although I wouldn't want to go by myself, ever. It's very forested, and there are very few people out in the wooded trails). Some parts were wide enough for two people, but mostly, the trails were meant for one person.

We ran, single file, over leaves and around fallen trees. At one point, when the sun just dipped below the mountains, we saw a doe about 15 feet from us. It's the closest I've ever come to a deer before! It watched us as we ran, and then I looked over in the other direction. There, a deer with long, elegant antlers was hoping away! Literally, prancing. It was so beautiful!

Mom and I only ran about two and a half miles or so (she had already run 6 that morning, and the sun was starting to set), but I had a grand time. I'm starting to get a little more excited than nervous about our upcoming run.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Trick-or-Treat? I don't think so.

Yesterday was the warmest Halloween in my memory. I can remember trick-or-treating as a kid and coming back with fingers numb from the cold. I figured, with the warm weather (the high 60s all evening!), we'd be slammed with trick-or-treaters.

I was excited because it was to be my first year giving out candy in my own place. Last year, Andrew and I house-sat over Halloween. This year, I had my bowl full of candy, and I waited...

...for nothing, apparently. Andrew and I didn't get any trick-or-treaters. Zero.

When I called my mom at 7:30pm, she hadn't gotten any trick-or-treaters, either. How weird is that? Since moving here, I've met a lot of people who claim that they don't "believe" in Halloween because it's Pagan, evil, or anti-Christian. I'm sorry, but I think that's radical and stupid. While Halloween might have some Pagan roots, so do many of our other traditions, from Christmas trees to Easter eggs to wishing wells. Why get caught up in past meanings when you can look for your own meanings in things? Why can't it just be about people having a chance to break social norms, dress up funky, and let kids trick-or-treat for candy? I feel bad that some kids have to miss out on Halloween, which was one of the days I looked forward to most as a kid.

Some people worry about the "dangers" of trick-or-treating. I'm not saying there aren't bad people in the world or that you shouldn't be careful, but there have been no (absolutely zero) cases where a stranger has poisoned candy and given it out
to trick-or-treaters. Zero. Let's face it: having a swimming pool is more dangerous than trick-or-treating. I think it's a positive thing to let kids band together, have fun, be kids, and get to know the neighbors and create those community bonds rather than to shy away from it.

So come on people: next year, let your kids dress up and have some fun.