Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Reality, Hope, Strength and the Mayor

AP here:
Wednesday May 1st is Tonka's surgery. His allergies have been bothering him and so his breathing has been very congested when he is sleeping. With surgery so close I took him to see one of his Doctors just to make sure we were not going to have any issues. His lungs are still clear and it all seems to be just nasal at this point and rather than put him on an antibiotic and upset his stomach we are just keeping an eye on him. I discussed his upcoming surgery with the Doctor who I like and respect very much and he was already familiar with some of the details. I have been holding up pretty well about all of this, but when we talked about the possibility of finding that it definitely is cancer and there is nothing that can be done I did have to catch myself. I have already heard that once but it was the phrase "there are worse things than dying" that hit me hard. The reality of the possibility sort of struck home at that point.
I am not going into this blind but rather with all the hope and emotional strength I can muster. Since this is starting as exploratory surgery there are several scenarios all with options that lay before us. Unfortunately there is no way to be 100% sure about any of them until they see what this mass actually is and what it has attached to. Once the surgeon knows what we are dealing with then we choose what to do. The control freak in me is not doing well with that as I like to know, plan and be prepared but I absolutely cannot prepare for the possibility that he will not come home again - I just can't. The comment "the odds are not in our favor" also stopped my heart for a few beats but if you follow this blog you know we beat odds all the time. Tonka is the master of beating odds and making his own rules about all things medical. I am trying to push all the bad thoughts aside and hoping and praying for the best possible scenario of just a strange little mass that comes out easy and he has a quick and full recovery. Tonka is my heart, he is a once in a lifetime sort of dog and I have learned so much from him and I am sure there will be a lesson for us in this little detour of our journey.
We went for a roll the other morning and there were 4 or 5 crews of workers replacing gas lines to house up and down our street. There is a small group that jokingly calls Tonka the Mayor of our city as he is so well known and stops to visit everyone we encounter wherever we go. I actually had a van stop one time, people got out, swarmed around him, called him by name, petted him and then piled back in and drove off and I still have no clue who they were. So as the mayor was rolling down the street the crews were stopping and coming to pet him, take pictures and ask questions. He was so happy to have so many people to "see"and was literally prancing in his wheels. He was really thrilled to meet Mr. Jerry who got down to his level and talked to him and gave him a lots of attention. It's really what makes him happy - to get out and about in the world and see to his constituents (whether they be adults, kids or animals) - my boy the Mayor.......

Stopping to shake paws with his peeps.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Things Happen That Knock You Down.... (but you get up and press on)

AP here:

If you are a DOD or military "brat" and I use the term with great affection you probably grew up traveling a lot and you learned that people and things are transitory. You also learned that we are all in this together and to treat each other with kindness and respect for the time that you have with one another. People and things will come and go in your life and all you ever really have are memories. It is because of this that I always strive to always make good memories, make people smile and laugh and try to not take anyone for granted. While being put in new environments and schools you also were forced to learn to be independent, self reliant and to not fear new situations.  These are all good traits and have helped me navigate my way in this crazy world especially when times get tough and you are left to stand on your own.
       There are 2 quotes from Lewis Carroll that I have always liked.

1. “I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then”

2. “You used to be much more..."muchier." You've lost your muchness.”

The first is a true statement we do change a bit with time and circumstance but fundamentally we are always the same at the core. There are times we lose ourselves for a bit we get sick, or knocked down by misfortune, sadness or loss and we lose our "muchness". This happened to me recently and I forgot ME for a little while. I lost my "muchness" that solid belief in myself that has always driven me forward (mistake #1). I had let circumstances overwhelm me and started second guessing myself and struggled to make decisions.
     Last week I had surgery and was not to lift Tonka for 7-10 days. Unfortunately I forgot that self reliant thing and asked for help (something I never do - so mistake #2) and mid-week the help bailed on me and I ended up having to lift him on my own. So now where the stitches were I have crazy glue and steri-strips holding the hole together (very annoying but my own fault). While I have been sick Tonka has also had some up and down issues with heavy panting as if in pain and low blood sugar and bloody urine. All of this knocked me off track a bit and I stopped paying attention to myself and the signs around me (mistake #3). I am a big believer in things happening for a reason and people coming in and even out of your life for a purpose. Sometimes you just have to look at the big picture to see how it all fits and sometimes you just need to get quiet and let the reason come to you.
      See all of these things happened for a reason - the heavy panting and weird urinary behavior in February made us have an ultrasound which turned up a small mass. We did not think anything of it since it did not correlate with his symptoms. The low blood sugar and blood in the urine two weeks ago forced yet another ultrasound which showed that the mass has grown and now alarm bells started sounding. A biopsy was inconclusive (of course because its Tonka) but I consulted with the internal medicine doctor, his cardiologist and his primary care doctor and all had the same response- whatever it is it should come out. I hesitated at the thought of surgery because my boy has been through so much and because I was letting people tell me that I was weak and this recovery would be too much for us. I floundered for a few days with all of this news and about that time I realized that people bailing on me also happened for a reason. It jolted me back into ME and me needed answers and a plan so I made a consult with a surgeon. Really liked the doctor, he laid it all out went over the options and the pros and cons of both. He had obviously done his homework with Tonka's past history and while discussing options and scenarios wanted my input on what works for my boy and what doesn't. That meant a great deal to me as some doctors tend to not listen much to the person who actually knows the most about the dog.
      The bottom line is I have two options the first being do nothing and most likely have an emergency situation down the road which will force me to do something in haste.Option 2 have exploratory surgery now get that thing out of there and figure out what it really is. If it is cancer and they get it all that will be awesome if its cancer and it has spread then we know what we are dealing with. If its some strange little benign mass then we still win because it cant keep growing and screw something else up.
      Now that I am back to being ME I only know one course of action and that is forward. This crap has to come out of my boy and he and I will deal with his surgery and recovery no matter what it takes. Those that are with me great.  I love you and will always be there for you when you need me. Those that are against me can stick it. I don't need your permission and I don't need your help you can move along and go have a nice life.

Tonka and I have dealt with everything that has been thrown at us and together we will continue to do so.
Oh and Nancy - FISH ;-)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

SPCA Annapolis Walk for the Animals

Today was  a big day. Aunt Carol and Nala came to the house really early and helped AP and CM load up the truck to go to Annapolis for the Walk for the Animals. Nala and I go every year and it is so much fun.

Waiting for Nala

AP and Aunt Carol had to figure out how to pack my stroller and my wheels this year.

Don't Forget Me Back Here
When we got there Nala was very excited and kept telling AP to hurry up and get everything back together so we could go see everyone. She was talking up a storm.

Stroller Frame

Getting the Stroller back together
Hurry up AP

While the humans were fooling around with everything Nala and I were saying Hi to everyone and all the other dogs in the parking lot.

 Then we were off up the hill to the walk.....

It is always a great time and a lot of my human friends from GAVH are there to give me some love and cookies. I also got to "see" my Aunt Pam from my neighborhood who was volunteering to help check people in and my Aunt Gina, Uncle Mike and Hannah who were there working and Ms. Kelly and some of the staff from Pet Barn.

 I love this event because I get to see so many of my doggie friends.

New Friend Named Blue

Little Puppy


Me and Ollie

 And as always my favoritest things in the world - kids.....

CM introducing me

I got tired so AP put me in the stroller with the help of Kee-Kee from GAVH. She is always so helpful to AP and me.

CM got me a cool new Bandanna

Falling Asleep
I had a great morning and Nala and I were both tired and ready for a nap by lunch time.