There's a certain peace that has entered my life. I don't know if it comes from my age, exhaustion, a quiet resignation, or simply a side effect of a wisdom, of sorts, that I've developed after years upon years of spinning my wheels, and burning my candles, and running in circles. But whatever brought on this peace, I welcome it. I don't have to fret over the outcome of your life anymore. Not for long, anyways.
And I don't have to fix everything for everyone anymore, that's not my task to take on.
Sure, I still worry, and I still get sad and angry and all those weird kinds of emotions bubble up to the surface now and again, but they're supposed to if I'm going to be a living, breathing, human adult. And speaking of living, breathing, human adults, I finally feel like I just may be one, most days, that is. There are still those moments that I feel like curling up in a ball and holding my breath until I pass out or screaming at the top of my lungs, "That's SO NOT FAIR!!!" But instead I take a deep breath, I exit the room, and I compose myself. Most of the time that works.
Watching those in my life struggle can be difficult. I reflect on the times that I have been in similar positions and remember how distraught I have felt in those moments. It's not easy to see your way out of a very deep, very dark hole. But once you make up your mind to climb up that seemingly impossible wall, you find yourself on the ledge with blue skies and steady ground ahead. At least that's always been my experience. I can't make anyone else understand that, because no one could make me understand it until I experienced it for myself. Much like a migraine or a bad gallbladder attack, you can't truly convey the way it feels to someone who has never experienced it. Some may think they understand it, but they won't truly until they've actually felt it.
And, I guess, that's just how it is with personal growth. Peace follows, and since I am, and always have been a hippy, that peace is divine to me. It's butter on my bread.
After a couple of years eating a mostly plant based diet, with some chicken and fish now and then, and regular use of dairy, The Wifester and I decided last month to go all vegetarian, she's actually doing vegan, that's a bit much for me right now, but maybe I'll try to aim for it in the future *baby steps*. I'm not sure I can give up cheese, though. Mmmmmm cheese...
But I digress.
This all came about after watching Forks Over Knives. If you haven't seen it, it's quite compelling! I even switched from dairy milk to coconut milk for my coffee. I'm pleasantly surprised by that one!
Anyway, I am really struggling with losing weight, even on the plant based diet. And, I'm embarassed to admit, that I actually struggle to get enough exercise because my weight and size makes it so difficult for me to have the stamina I had even just a year ago. I am considering weight loss surgery (lap band).
Even on the mostly plant based diet, I've fluctuated over the last year, losing 30 lbs, then gaining 45...
I'm 41 years old now, and I've struggled with my weight my entire life. I was a fat toddler, a fat grade schooler, a fat middle and high schooler, and now I'm a fat adult. I worry that won't live long enough to be a fat senior citizen.
I feel like if I could just lose enough weight to have more energy and more mobility, I would be able to exercise more and help myself lose more weight. I struggle with the guilt of "taking the easy way out" on this, but I also feel like my life is dependent upon me being healthier and losing this dangerous weight. What are your honest thoughts on that?
Over the course of the last couple of months, my blog has become a place to pay tribute to the ones I love who have passed much too soon. It's depressing and I hate it, but today, sadly, I am yet again here to do just that.
My sweet, funny, fun loving "Auntie Rosie" passed away last week. She had suffered from M.S. for many years, but ultimately, what got her was a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs).
She was only 64.
Some of my earliest memories include her and several of my mom's other sisters gathered in the kitchen, aprons tied on tight, laughing, dancing, singing, and cooking. I learned a lot from each of those women. And I learned that when they spoke in Spanish, I needed to pay special attention because it was about to get really, really, interesting!
Auntie Rosie was the youngest of all the siblings, and she and I had that "baby of the family" trait in common. I always looked up to her for her humor, her spirit, and her constant, enduring smile.
Life is always followed by death...we can't stop it, it's just the way it goes. I guess all that we can do is make sure that each day counts.
Hasta luego, Tia Rosie. I'll miss you bunches!
Rosa “Rosie” M Lozada
Patriot Guard Rider
Albuquerque, NM, 07-05-2014
The husband, NMPGR Ride Captain has requested a flag-line as we honor our Rosie…
She was born October 26, 1949 in El Paso Texas. She has lived in Nashville Tennessee, Irving Texas and ultimately moved to Rio Rancho New Mexico where she passed away. She was predeceased death by her Father Guillermo Palacios, Mother Nieves Flores Palacios, Brothers Tony Palacios and Freddy Palacios. She is survived by her Husband Joseph Lozada; Children Cynthia West, Jose Lozada, Enrique & Stacy Lozada, Eva Rios; grandchildren Steven Smith, Adam West, Zoe West, Alexis McKillip, Raymond Young, Anthony Lozada, Jennika Lozada, Jorge Rios, Vivian Rios, Jesus Rios and Ana Rios; Brothers and Sisters Willie Palacios, Henry Palacios, Anita Benavidez, Maggie Sapien, Dolores Romero, Manny & Elaine Palacios, Jenny & Dennis Lucero and Phyllis & Jim Schleicher. She also loved her many aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews that made her life happy and full of joy. She is being cremated at Riverside Funeral Home and a memorial gathering will be on Saturday, July 5, 2014 at Sister Jennie Lucero’s home, at 12 noon. Friends and Family are welcome. Call or text for the address.
Rosie was one of the greatest sports fan ever! She was a fan of the NY Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars, Dallas Mavericks and pretty much anything sports related on TV.
She was a member of the Red Hats Society and Patriot Guard Riders. Rosie loved life, family, and friends, dancing and always dreamed to go bungee jumping. She loved everyone she ever met and always had a smile on her face. Heaven has a new Angel.
6565 Paradise Blvd NW
BRIEFING: 12 PM
KICK STANDS UP: 12:15 PM
TRAVEL TO: 5953 Avenida La Barranca Pl NW, Albuquerque, NM (1 mile)
FLAG-LINE: 12:30-1 PM
Billy “Bam Bam” Crain - SRC -
Large bike flags will be needed.
There's something amiss in the Universe lately. I miss my Sally Sue terribly, and at the same time I love this Elsa Pup like nobody's business! It's amazing how quickly you become attached.
As much as my heart aches for my Sweet Sally Sue, I am at a loss for how my poor cousin must be feeling right now. Her wife passed away on Friday.
You may remember her from my Get Whitney On Ellen campaign.
Whitney suffered from a blood clotting disorder, Factor V Leiden, which caused her to suffer from multiple blood clots over and over again. Her body had developed resistance to all of the blood thinners, and specialists struggled to find a treatment that was efficient at keeping her blood from clotting. She survived multiple pulmonary embolisms, which in itself is quite impressive. Most people don't survive one, let alone the many she endured. She was given the poor prognosis last year, when doctors told her she likely only had a few months left to live. She lasted much longer than they expected. She was funny, friendly, and kept a positive attitude and a smile on her face, even as she faced the last few days of her life.
My poor cousin and her daughter are now left without a wife and without a mother. My heart breaks for this young, beautiful couple. They celebrated their one year wedding anniversary on the 16th, and Whitney passed away on the 20th.
I was inspired every day by Whitney's ability to make light of a terrible situation, and to face it with a smile on her face. I was inspired by her ability to always find the positive and accentuate it.
I hope you'll take just a moment of your day and send my sweet cousin, Lacy, and her daughter Marlee, some peace, love, and positive energy. The coming days are going to be a struggle for each of that that I can't even imagine.
And I hope that you'll grab your loved ones and give them an extra big hug today, and cherish them with all of your heart, because tomorrow is not promised to any of us.
My mom used to call me a "worry-wort." She said that I worried too much about things that I didn't need to worry about. Maybe she was right after all.
Bob Marley visited me last night. Really. Well, at least in my dream he did. He was in my living room, and he was singing to me! I was just in absolute awe as he sang what seemed to be a hybrid of what I think is a White Stripes song and something else...what, I'm not quite sure, but definitely reggae. He sat across from me singing, "You've got to take all your worries and you write them all down. You write them all down, you just write them all down. You've got to take all your worries and you get them all out, you get them all out..." And I was smiling ear to ear and I said, "Yea, Bob! That's what I do with my blog!" And I pointed over to the side and there sat my laptop, with this blogger dashboard open, but blank, waiting for a post. And Bob said, "Yes, mon. You know the deal." And then he took a big hit off of an enormous joint and he handed it to me. In my dreams, I smoke pot with Bob Marley. I mean, how awesome is that?
I woke up with that little tune in my head and I thought, that's got to be a song I heard, so I googled the lyrics, but I can't find anything. The closest is that White Stripes song, Little Acorns, but it's not exactly that either. I suppose that's not really important here, though. The important part is that some nook or cranny of my brain knew that I needed to process some stuff and that this is where I usually go to do that.
There's so many worries going on in my mind these days.
I worry that I am responsible for Sally's death. I worry that I was negligent and didn't notice signs and symptoms that may have led the vets to diagnose her before she was in crisis, possibly saving her life, or at least prolonging it.
I worry that she suffered because I failed her.
I worry that Elsa is now in my care and that I'll fail her, too.
I worry that I won't be able to keep up with the pace of the new job I start on Wednesday.
I worry that I'll lose that job, and then have to go back through the application process to get my disability check re-enstated, which took four years. We can't go another four years without that check!
I worry that The Wifester is too burdened with me and my rapidly failing vision and that she's wearing tired of picking up the slack when it comes to driving, and taking the dog out at night, and picking up stuff in the dark corners, and getting the cobwebs that I missed...
I worry that I'll never get to see my family before my vision is all gone.
I worry that I'll never get to see so many things before my vision is all gone: states, parks, mountains, monuments...I want to see them all before I can't see anymore, and I know I won't get to.
I worry about this meningioma growing on my brain's lining. My brain!!
I worry about these hives I keep getting...
I worry about paying the bills each month, because there never seems to be quite enough money to cover everything.
I worry that I'll die, having squandered my life away, never having made a difference or effected any meaningful changes.
I worry for the world we live in- for the children growing up in war-ravaged countries, in crime filled neighborhoods, in slums.
I worry about the puppies and kitties and horses and all the animals who don't have a home, who don't have food and water, and especially those who do have a home, but it is not a good, loving, nurturing one.
And don't laugh at me for this, but I honestly worry that I don't worry enough.
Case(s) in point: Sally.
On the way to the vet that first morning when she just had the fever, The Wifester was terribly worried, and I was all, "Oh, honey, she probably just has another UTI and you know that causes fever. She's a young, healthy girl. This isn't like Sunny..."
And when Sunny was sick that day, and we took her to the vet, The Wifester was terribly worried then, too, and I was all, "Well, I think she is showing signs of CHF, but that can be manageable, and I think we are catching it early enough since she just started showing the signs. I don't think she's dying right now."
She died that day.
I should have been more worried.
I should worry more about our financial futures. But I always end up just being happy that bills are (mostly) paid and we got to indulge in a few small luxuries. I don't need the biggest house or the newest fashions...I just need love, togetherness, and a few good meals that I don't have to cook every now and again. And puppy kisses. I need lots of puppy kisses in my life.
I feel better already, just listing all my worries. They're valid, most of them, but they aren't overbearing. It's probably natural to worry. And I need to allow those worries to be sorted out and filtered without stressing over them so much. I always say that I'm really a laid back, go with the flow kind of gal, and for the most part I am, truthfully. But even though I've learned to be able to adapt and go with the flow, that doesn't mean that I don't still worry.
How about you? What do you worry about and how do you cope with that worry?
To tell you about what happened in our world yesterday, I first have to back up a couple of weeks and fill you in on some details.
The day we picked Miss. Sally Sue up from the vet, after the surgery to remove that tumor from her eye, we saw a sweet, skinny, pretty little pup in the waiting room. The Wifester overheard her human telling some other ladies sitting nearby that this pup's name was Elsa, and that she was up for adoption or foster through a certain rescue group in the area. She was there that day to be spayed.
The Wifester was simply smitten with her, saying, "I must have that puppy!"
That evening we went online and submitted an application to foster and potentially adopt Elsa.
A week went by and we didn't hear anything. Then the second week, and still no word...and then, well, that's when Sally fell ill. We spent the next week in and out of the hospital with her, as you may have followed via my facebook posts.
Elsa was always in the back of our minds, as we have wanted to give Sally a sister ever since Sunny passed away a year and a half ago. Two days after Sally passed, we got the call from the rescue. Elsa was still available, our application looked good, but they wanted to do a home visit before approving us.
We mulled it over, and decided that although we miss Sally terribly, and no one can ever replace her, we also know that we need the sound of puppy paws on our floors. We need those soft puppy kisses to help us heal and to help distract us from focusing only on how much we miss our sweet, sweet Sally. And what better way to honor Miss Sally Sue than to give another rescue pup a good life, even if it is temporarily while we foster until an adopter comes along for the pup? Sally would definitely want it to be that way, we think. She enjoyed her life, and just wanted everyone around her to enjoy life too. That was one lesson we learned from Sally Sue: Enjoy each and every day to the absolute fullest. It was her mantra.
So on Tuesday we had our home visit and all went well, as far as we could tell. They explained that they prefer to do a trial/foster period, in which they could evaluate how we are acclimating to the dog and how she acclimates to us.
We agreed and signed the contract.
That brings us to Wednesday- yesterday. I got two phone calls yesterday: One from the rescue saying that Elsa had been dropped off at our vet's office, and that we could go pick her up and begin our trial/foster period. The other phone call came about a half an hour later, the vet's office called to let me know that Miss Sally's ashes were ready to be picked up.
Our trip to West Park Animal Hospital yesterday was bitter-sweet.
With tears for our sweet, precious Sally still lining our cheeks, and me still holding the canister with her remains, the tech came around the corner being led by this gigantic, beautiful puppy, Elsa, who trotted right up to us and began lavishing us with kisses.
"So, obviously, she needs to gain some weight." The tech told us.
"No problem! Everyone gains weight in our house," was my response.
She is skinny. Like, bones protruding skinny. You can count her ribs and see her spine.
No worries, little pup, I'll fatten you right up. Skinny or not, she's enormous! She's estimated to be between three and four months old, and she is taller than Sally was at 9 months. Skinnier, but taller.
She definitely has some sort of hound dog in her, and the other part of her mix is best guessed, they said, as possibly Great Dane. Great Dane!! Right now she is all legs and paws. She looks a bit like a baby deer with those super long, skinny legs.
I write this with tears streaming my face. I have Sally's ashes on one side of my desk, and a sweet, loving little (enormous) puppy on the other.
I miss my Sally. My heart still aches for her terribly. It hasn't even been a week since she left us. In some ways it still seems like I'll wake up and Sally will be there, in between The Wifester and I, hogging up all the blankets...I dreamed last night that it was morning and The Wifester's alarm went off and instantly, Sally was there, like she used to be, inching her way up from the foot of the bed to sandwich herself in between us and have her early morning snuggle fest. I dreamed she was kissing my nose like she used to do...I awoke with tears as I remembered that she really is gone...
And then something amazing happened- Elsa made her way up to my face and began kissing up my tears. It helped ease the pain of missing Sally and realizing that it was only a dream, and that Sally really is gone from this life, gone from my world, gone from everything but my memory and my dreams, where she'll live as long as I do. And I think that's exactly what Sally would want- some furry friend to kiss my face in the morning for her, and to help make me feel better in her absence.
In the animal rescue/foster world, they humorously call a foster who ends up being adopted by the foster family a "foster fail."
It's early yet, we aren't even 24 hours into our trial period, but I think it is probably safe to assume that this will be a foster fail.
Reading more about this Evans Syndrome, the combination of Immune-mediated hemolytic anemia and thrombocytopnia, the disease that took my Sally away...In retrospect, there were signs of it for years, but who would ever know? They were so mild and seemingly benign. She had red, patchy splotches on her belly all the time. We just thought they were from her laying in the grass, allergies, you know? And vets never acted like it was something to be concerned about. They usually just said to give her some Benadryl to clear it up. She had bleeding gums a lot, but again, we thought it was just because she'd been chewing on one of her bones. She recurrently had blood in her urine, but the vets always treated it as a bladder infection or urinary tract infection because, well, why wouldn't they? And she always seemed to get better with that course of treatment. We did notice, a few weeks ago, with the beginning of spring that she seemed to get tired more easily from fetching the stick in the back yard, but we thought, gosh, we're all a bit out of shape after such a long winter. She just needs more exercise to rebuild her stamina. Looking back now, those were all precursors that separately seem like nothing, but all added together... Well. How were we to know?
Such a rare, weird disease. I wish there was some kind of fund that I could contribute to so that others could be spared the pain and heartache that we have. And so that other furbabies could be spared the suffering and sickness that my poor baby had to endure. And I wish I could afford to contribute to such a fund, if it existed. Actually, there should be a fund to help others who are battling this thing to be able to pay their ginormous vet bills. We racked up a few grand in less than a week. I'd pay five times that if it would bring her back.
It all happened so fast. That pic at the top of this page was taken three days before she got sick. Three little days.
On Tuesday, we noticed that Sally was hot. Like, really hot. And she seemed super tired. And looking back, she wasn't much interested in her dinner Monday night. She ate a bit, but not much. On Tuesday morning she didn't want to eat at all. We took her right on in to the vet. She had a super high fever of 105.8. They kept her overnight, gave her antibiotics and IV fluids.
Wednesday morning she seemed much better, and was able to come home. But we took her right back in that evening because she was hot again and having a bit of trouble breathing, and we noticed that her gums, her eyes, the insides of her ears, and her belly were yellow. I recognized those bilirubin deposits from my days of nursing.
That's when they diagnosed Evans Syndrome. Her blood counts were so very low. She received some more fluids and medications and was given a really high dose of steroids to try to stop her immune system from destroying her blood cells. She seemed to respond a bit.
We brought her home.
The next morning, Thursday, when I tried to take her potty, she was panting heavily before she could make it from the sofa to the back door. She reached the porch and just collapsed. Her little legs trembled and shook and she just went straight down. I'll never forget the look on her face, she looked up at me surprised and frightened. I could hear her puppy voice in my head pleading, "Mom, help me." She tried to stand back up but her little legs just would not hold her. I sat with her for a few minutes, and then she was able to regain her strength and get back up. We came into the house and I called Macey and the vet. Macey left work and was home to take us back to the vet within 20 minutes. By the time we got to the vet, Sally Sue was back on her feet, perky, or at least perkier than she had been for days, and seemingly significantly better. It was decided that she should stay overnight to be monitored and in case the blood transfusion was needed.
The next morning she was so weak, her kidneys were shutting down, and the vet said that even with a blood transfusion, at this point she could not be saved. The steroids were not reversing the autoimmune reaction. Her own body was attacking her. Her blood counts were not responding, and in fact were continuing to drop. Her blood didn't carry enough oxygen to her organs to keep them working. She was struggling to breathe. She was suffering. We had to make the decision that no pet parent ever wants to make.
It was horrible, but it was also beautiful to be able to be there with my puppy. I snuggled her and laid face to face with her. I showered kisses on her snout and scratched her ears. Macey spooned our sweet Sally Sue and held her in her arms. She was right where she always wanted to be, sandwiched in between her two mommies- with all hands on Sally, and all eyes on Sally, and all attention focused on Sally.
My puppy passed away being showered with love.
I thanked her for allowing me to be her guardian for as long as she was able to stay here. I apologized to her for not being able to save her. I told her how much she had given to me and how grateful I was for my time with her. And I told her how very, very much she was loved.
The vet cried, and told us she was gone, but I already knew. I could feel it that she was gone.
And by Friday morning, she couldn't even hold her head up or keep her eyes open for more than a few seconds.
So listen, if you see red or dark colored patches on your dog's belly, and maybe even sometimes on their gums, and if you notice their gums bleed easily when chewing on bones or other hard chew toys, and maybe you notice that they seem to be tired a bit more quickly than usual...please, please get some blood work done and make sure that their red blood cells and platelets are in the normal range. This thing sneaks up and takes control and there is very, very little we can do to reverse it once it takes hold.
I'd like to create a fund to help others battling this awful disease. The medications are expensive. The hospitalization is expensive. And the blood transfusions, and yes, there'll likely be many, are expensive. In under a week we accrued a multi-thousand dollar vet bill.
Any excess funds received will be donated in full to Brown Dog Foundation, a non-profit charity organization whose mission is to help bridge the gap between the cost of medical care and saving the family pet.