Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.29.2012

Yesterday was a rough day. Thankfully today is a little bit better. I had more energy so I have been staying busy most of the day.

As I was moving the lawn earlier today I was thinking of the fact that Dr. K often referred to Mojo as a gentle giant. He really was - at least with people. He wasn't so great with other dogs but he loved people and was just a big softie.

Before we moved to Nashville we lived in Monterey, TN and at one point I wanted to do some volunteer work. I went to the local Care and Rehabilitation Facility (Standing Stone) and asked if I could bring Mojo in once a week to say hi to the residents. They loved the idea and did not require any kind of special training or certification.

If you knew Mojo you know that he was a very EXCITED dog. I wouldn't call him hyper, but as I mentioned in other posts, he was just thrilled with everything, more so than any other dog I know. He also had a very long tail and when that tail was wagging, which it often was, there was a chance something would get knocked over. It also hurt like crazy if he hit you in the leg with it. And of course seeing people was exciting for Mojo. So I was a little concerned the first time I took him to Standing Stone but he did GREAT. He really was a gentle giant. As soon as I walked in he was very calm and quiet. We would walk from room to room to greet people and he would just walk up to them, put his head in their laps, lick their hands, and love on them. I was so proud of him and people loved him.

There was one older woman who did not like getting out of bed. When I brought Mojo in she always asked me if he could sleep on her bed. She was so cute. Anyway, I let him put his front paws on the side of her bed and she would sit up and hug him. Then she would tell me that those are the best hugs ever. I so agree with her. I miss those hugs so much.

Follow-Up Appointment #2 with Dr. D August 2012

Last year I started chiropractic care to "fix" a slight curvature of my spine (scoliosis), lack of c-curve in my neck (as in NONE), and my head being too far forward. A week ago I went over my before and after x-rays with my chiropractor who recommended another year or weekly adjustments and doing exercises at home. I wasn't sure what to do and decided to discuss it with Dr. D and since we were talking anyhow (and they charge for a minimum of 15 minutes) I asked a few other questions.

I know that some doctors think chiropractic care is too harsh but Dr. D said she is in favor of it, "if the chiropractor is good". I got the impression she was saying that my situation really hasn't changed all that much (based on before and after x-rays) considering I was in treatment for a year. She said that it might be a good idea to get a second opinion. I have to agree, I was a little disappointed myself that things hadn't changed more.

Last week, during the last 5 minutes of a coffee enema, I started having some pain in my pelvic area. It was all over -  intestines, ovaries, etc. After about 20 minutes it went away and it wasn't very bad either. However, at 1:30 that night I woke up and the pain was back and it was horrible. I walked downstairs very slowly because every step hurt and took a Percocet. Waited about 45 minutes then went back to bed still in pain. The next morning it was better but it took a full 3 days for it to go away completely. I asked her if I could have damaged something and she said she did not think so. Her take on it is that I may have disrupted some scar tissue and/or adhesions and that would be a good thing.

One thought I had had with the pain was that I might be retracing the pain from my hysterectomy. I know that during the healing process you can sometimes experience pain from old illnesses. I decided to ask her about the theory that we retrace all old illnesses and that we do so in reverse order they occurred. I always thought that theory was kind of hokey and I am glad she she seems to think this does not happen. She said what does happen is that we break through and work through old layers of fungi, bacteria, viruses, etc. but that we try to stay ahead of that by taking a lot of binders. Sometimes we may not be taking enough binders and as we break through a layer we might experience the symptoms of that virus or bacteria for example, but she does not believe the retrace every illness and in reverse order they occurred.

During a previous conversation she had said that she has no problem with me eating nuts and seeds, except peanuts and cashews. This time I asked her if the reason for that is that those are not really nuts. She said yes and also because they are high in fungi. I asked if fermented cashews would be ok and she said it should be but to bring some with me and she would test me for it.

I mentioned that I seem to be getting dry mouth from Ignatia 30C (the homeopathic remedy she recommended for grief) and she said that is an odd reaction. Her recommendation was to dissolve it in water and sip it slowly. I like that idea because those little pellets taste really sweet to me.

Last but not least I asked if there is any kind of gum that is ok to chew. I am still dealing with bad breath and I hate, hate, hate it. When I am around people, like at church, I feel so self-conscious that I end up chewing sugar-free gum (with aspartame). She said not to do that but that I can have any gum sweetened with Xylitol like Spry for example. Incidentally that is the brand I was going to ask her about. She said that they actually encourage people to chew gum with Xylitol because Xylitol rebalances flora in the mouth and also helps to prevent cavities.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.28.2012

It has been hard to write about Mojo. I think about him every single day, but sometimes it just hurts so much that he is gone, and to write about stuff he did. The house feels empty and quiet without him...almost lifeless. If you are wondering about our other dog Pepper, she is just not as energetic as Mojo was. One, she is about 13 years old so she sleeps a lot more now. Two, while she is cute and can be cuddly, she is just very different from Mojo.

Yesterday I went to BluePearl to pick up the clay paw print Dr. K and N. took after they put him to sleep. 
N. came out to give it to me and also had a card for us. I didn't open the card until I got in the car because as I suspected I started to cry as soon as I took it out of the envelope. (Actually, I started to cry as soon as I walked out of BluePearl.) The front of the card has a picture of a guy in a truck driving away on a dirt road. On the passenger side is a dog sticking his head out the window and above that it says, "In Heaven, the car windows are always rolled down." Both Dr. K and N. wrote something really beautiful for me and Bob and I just sat there and cried. Dr. K said in the card that Mojo made any bad day at BluePearl better and any good day amazing. N. said that she loved having him there and that Mojo would just follow her around and was great company.

Mojo did love riding with his head sticking out the window. I know all dogs do, but it just seemed like Mojo thought everything was extra exciting. Honestly, I have never seen a dog get so excited about simple things over and over and over. I talked about this with two of the receptionists at BluePearl yesterday and one of them said in her email she mentioned that Mojo loved without limits. He really did. And any time I brought him in for his treatments they would get SO excited about him being there. The two women who were there on a regular basis always came around the reception desk to hug him and kiss him. Then they would tell me that it would make their day when they would see Mojo's name on the list of patients that day.

It has been 14 days now and I still can't believe he is gone! I do fairly well as long as I stay busy and as soon as I stop and sit, even if it's to watch a show or a movie, I start to feel that horrible pain and break down and cry. For the most part, I have fun, happy memories, but every so often I see the images of his last night and that hurts even more. I know we should live in the moment and enjoy every minute, but part of me wishes we were past the 1-year mark already because then the pain wouldn't be quite as bad.

Some random pictures.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.23.2012

When we still lived in Austin, and were able to leave the dogs in the backyard while we were out, DH built a really nice dog house for them. It was so nice I told DH the city of Austin might require a building permit if they were to see it. He put shingles on the roof that were left over from our house's roof, it was huge, and Mojo's entrance was bigger than Pepper's entrance.

Of course we wanted them to have something soft to sleep on in there so we bought dog beds for them. Knowing Mojo, and his slightly destructive nature, we put the dog beds in our bedroom for a week first. The dogs slept on them every night and used them during the day as well. We figured (incorrectly) if he got used to sleeping on them he would not tear them up. 

So after a week we put the dog beds in the dog house, left the dogs in the backyard, and watched them for a while from the window. Everything was good, the dogs were playing, and every so often would go into the dog house. We went about our business and about 5 minutes later, or 10 minutes at the most, went back to check on them and it looked like it had snowed in the back yard. He had torn up both dog beds and the white stuffing was spread all over the yard! From then on the dogs had straw in their dog house.

I also have this huge teddy bear that Bob got me shortly after we had gotten married. It's one of those that's about 3 feet tall and it used to sit on our bed. One day I came in the bedroom to find the teddy bear on its face and his tail was missing. I didn't even have to check which dog had a guilty face. That was clearly Mojo's work! 

I think I may have posted the pictures below already in another post but can't remember. This is what Mojo did to my car seat when I left him in the car one day for 20 minutes, and the face he made when I got in the car and asked him what he had done.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.21.2012

Today has been a rough day. I started prepping a batch of Kimchi after DH went to work then let it "marinade" while I mowed the back yard (I mowed the front yesterday). Cleaned the lawn mower when I was done then cleaned the trash can after Waste Management picked up the trash. When I came back inside I put the Kimchi in my Fido jars and then decided to sit in the sun for a bit. That's when reality hit me!

I sat out there and cried. Thought about calling someone but figured there was no point. I mean, what is anybody really going to say to me that would make this better?? The hard part is that I spend so much time at home. I feel like I need to get out of the house but there are only so many times I can go to Target, the grocery store, or to the park and it's not like going to the park is painless without him there. I feel like I should get a job but don't feel well enough yet to work outside the house. It's just a miserable situation all the way around.

But on to a happier story....Mojo needed a lot of attention. Dogs in general like attention and like you to pet them, but Mojo just liked it a little bit more than any other dog I have ever had or met. Therefore he didn't like being alone and I think that's why there was a chance he would tear something up in the house while we were gone if we didn't crate him.

So the last time we went out of town, which was the first weekend in August, Dr. K at Bluepearl said they would board Mojo for us. They normally don't board dogs but when I mentioned that my biggest concern with boarding Mojo is his fear of thunderstorms (and being alone at night during a thunderstorm), she said she would call it a "medical board" and he could stay with them. Bluepearl is an emergency and specialty clinic and they are open 24 hours so someone would be there with him at all times. On a side note, how awesome is Dr. K???

We dropped him off Sunday, I called Monday to see how he was doing and N. (Dr. K's assistant) said he didn't like being in his run and they put him in an exam room. When we got back that Wednesday to pick him up Dr. K gave us the full story. Apparently "didn't like being in his run" meant he tore up the wire mesh fencing of his run. The runs are towards the back and there aren't any people back there for the most part. So they did put him in an exam room, kept the door to the back open, and blocked him with a baby gate. Dr. K said being able to see and hear people seemed like all he needed and he was fine. That's my boy!

One of the nurses told Dr. K every time that she and N. were in the area Mojo would make these little whining noises. I think I know which noises she was talking about and I guess it's because he recognized their voices.

And thinking back to how everyone loved Mojo so much....Dr. K also said she came down one day to check on him and he wasn't in his "suite" as they called it. So she went looking for him and realized the surgical team had come to get him so they could play with him.

He also loved his "big" sister and apparently she is a good pillow. :)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.20.2012

My little boy loved to swim and I mean he LOVED it. In Austin we had a little pool in the front yard that he swam in just about every day. It was 3 feet deep on one end, and about 4 feet deep on the other end. The pool wasn't very big, only about 10' X 20' but big enough for him to have fun in.

We would make him sit at the edge of the pool, throw in his toy (a rubber "tire"), wait for it to sink to the bottom, then release him to get it. While it was sinking to the ground he was barely sitting...his butt was slightly raised off the ground because he couldn't wait to go after his toy. Once we released him he would jump in head first, dive to the bottom, and come back up with his toy. Then he would come out and want to do it all again. He never long as we kept going he kept going.

On occasion he missed his toy for some reason and would come up for air without it. He would then swim circles around it, sticking his head in the water every so often, and eventually he would "make like a duck" and dive down head first with his butt and tail wiggling in the air, and he would get his toy. He was determined!

We usually let him stay outside for a bit after swimming so he could dry off and occasionally we would go back inside while both dogs were out there. It was a very small, enclosed area since it was in the front yard. One day we heard water splashing so we went to one of the bedrooms to look out through the window and there was Mojo, jumping into the pool on the deep end, swimming to the stairs to get out on the other end, then doing it again and again. It was the cutest thing the way he just entertained himself.

We also took pictures of him with an underwater camera diving for his toy. As soon as we go through our old pictures I will scan and post them as well. We were going to do that this weekend but it just seemed to painful.

As much as he loved to swim, he hated walking in the rain, getting a bath, and being hosed off. I even got the impression that he didn't like getting his paws wet after it had rained. But as soon as you said "swimming", he got all excited and was ready to go.

First time in the ocean.

Just sniffin' after a good, long swim in the ocean.

Looking for dolphins?

Swimming in the ocean.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.19.2012

I believe I mentioned in one of my other posts that Mojo weighed around 55 lbs when we first got him. He grew quickly and at his heaviest, he was around 110 lbs. However, for the most part he hovered right around 100 lbs and that was a good weight for him.

Like a lot of big dogs Mojo thought he was a lapdog. From the beginning he tried to climb onto my lap or onto DH's lap, especially during a thunderstorm. He also somehow managed to squeeze into the smallest places. 

In addition, he loved sneaking onto furniture. I started leaving "stuff" on my futon just so he wouldn't lie on it and get it all dirty. I also caught him on the guest bedroom bed on a few occasions. And last but not least, he always enjoyed  good pile of dirty laundry on the floor or anywhere really.

On DH's lap/futon.


Scared during fireworks.

On the futon next to my friend Shannon and her sweet son Cash.

On hotel beds during our trip to NC last year.

Wrapped up in and covered by sheets that I was about to wash.

We didn't really allow the dogs on the bed except for occasionally when I was going to wash the sheets anyhow, or on any of our furniture really. However, we had a 2-paw rule and Mojo took full advantage of it.

Wrapped up in my Scooby Doo towel.

And I couldn't resist posting one of his big paws that I loved so much as well as his big, fuzzy face and nose. I would give anything to be able to rub that cute face of his right now.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.18.2012

Mojo loved and lived for food. This picture is of him standing in the kitchen while I was cooking hoping something will drop or that I would feed him something. I have to admit I often did and that just encouraged him standing behind me or beside me the entire time I was cooking or baking. One time I dropped a piece of onion and before I could say "leave it" he had swallowed it. Fortunately it was a small piece because onions are not good for dogs.

Since he loved food that meant he also loved pork rinds and so do I. Whenever I ate pork rinds I would feed him a few and it was so cute to see him crunching away on them rather than inhale them like most of his other food. Whenever the weather allowed it I would take Mojo with me to run errands and if I stopped at a grocery store I usually got some pork rinds for us to share in the car. It was "our thing".

When we started chemo, and he had to go in every week for IV chemo treatments, Dr. K's assistant N. told me that she had given him some treats and that she hoped it was ok. Since he had cancer it was even more important to us that he stayed on a grain-free diet. I had also started making smoothies for him from boiled chicken breast, broth, a green powder and all kinds of other goodies. So every week I would cut up some chicken breast and take it with me in a little plastic bag. When it was time for him to go back for his treatment, he never wanted to go and it was heart breaking for me. However, I would give N. the bag with chicken breast which she showed him and he followed her willingly. He had his priorities. :)

Like most dogs he loved sticking his head out the window while driving and he would just stand on the backseat the entire time with his big lips flopping in the wind. Like any good mom, if it was really cold I would crank the heater, and if it was really warm, I would crank the A/C just so he could ride with his head out the window. I did just about anything to make him happy. :)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.17.2012

Since I am home most of the day I do most of my "living" downstairs with my laptop set up on the coffee table. Quite often as I was sitting there, leaning forward and typing away, Mojo would come over and stick his big, cute head through my arms and just sit down, so that I was basically hugging him. It was pretty much impossible to keep typing and not hug and and love on him. It was so cute. Unfortunately I don't have a picture of him doing so.

Other times he would be walking in front of me and just stop and sit down. He would do anything to get attention and affection and he also gave love and kisses often and freely. I love how big he was and that I could wrap my arms around him or wrestle with him on the floor. And I love that he would snuggle up right next to you and put his head somewhere on your body if you got down on the floor with him. Unless he tried to sit on you of course!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Memories of Mojo 08.16.2012

 My sweet friend Starlene of GAPS Diet Journey called me earlier today to check on me and to see how I am holding up. We talked about Mojo of course and I also mentioned Dr. Dahlgren's recommendation during yesterday's phone consult about journaling daily about positive memories of Mojo. Starlene suggested that I do this on my blog and I thought that was a good idea.

So as I was cleaning the house this morning trying to distract myself I thought about how Mojo came to be a part of our family a little over 10 years ago. When I met DH he had our current dog Pepper and I had a black lab named Dakota. While we were on our honeymoon we left our dogs with a friend who also had a dog and both of our dogs ran away. Pepper came back and Dakota never did.

As sad as this story is, and as hard as it was to lose Dakota back then, one of the many times we went to the local animal shelter in Austin hoping someone had found him and dropped him off, we saw little Mojo. We walked past his run and I instantly fell in love with him. He was just a small fry back then as my friend Patty called him, and mostly all ears. I asked the employee who was walking around with us if I could get into the run with him and she said that was fine. I walked into the run, got on my knees, and he immediately climbed onto my lap. Back then he only weighed 55 lbs but he never did stop climbing on people's laps even when he weighed 100 lbs. We took him out of the run and walked him a bit and he did his business back in a grassy area and the employee at the shelter indicated that he was already housebroken. Such a smart boy!

DH and I talked and we decided that we would start the adoption process and that we would continue to look for Dakota and that we would just have 3 dogs if we could get him back. Dakota never did return but our adoption application was approved and so Mojo came to live with us.

The day we picked him up DH and I met at the shelter, finalized all the paper work, then I drove home with him in my car. I put him on the passenger seat, which he tore up a few months ago, and while I was driving he again tried to climb onto my lap. From the start, Mojo was an incredibly cuddly, snuggly, loving, and very generous with hugs and kisses.

DH and I are planning to go through pictures of Mojo together this weekend and maybe even create a collage of some sort. I will find the pictures of him when we first got him and will then scan and post them.

Follow-Up Appointment with Dr. D August 2012

I had a quick phone consult with Dr. D yesterday which was really good. I didn't really have much to discuss and I am going back to see her and Dr. K in person middle of September, but I am glad I ended up talking to her.

First I told her about Mojo's passing and asked if there is anything I can do to help with the grieving process and also the loss of joy in my life. He really did bring SO much joy into my life and there will be a huge void now instead. She recommended the homeopathic grief remedy Ignatia 30C and said to take 5 pellets 3 times a day for at least a month. She also said to do whatever it takes to honor his memory of him and the joy he brought me in any way that I can. One way she recommended was to journal about the joyful memories for about 5 to 10 minutes a day.

I told her about seeing some really weird looking stuff - like huge, thick pieces of mucous or something - if I do an enema the morning after I did an antimicrobial retention enema. She said that could be biofilm. I then asked her if I could do more than 2 a week and she said to work up to 4 or 5 a week. I hate doing them but if I am getting nasty stuff out I am willing to do them more often.

I asked her opinion about avoiding nightshades, eggs, and dairy if a person has an autoimmune disease. She said if there is inflammation it is definitely good to avoid nightshades. With dairy she said only to avoid if I am reacting to it. I do and the only dairy I eat is ghee, and maybe a little bit of butter, and she said that was fine. I told her that I tested ok for egg yolks but not the whites when I came to see her in April and she said to go ahead and eat egg yolks but just not every day.

Last but not least I told her that I am still in the process of adding antimicrobials in slowly. I am not sure if I wrote about this last time, but I started having die off from all the antimicrobials I was taking, although I had been on them for months. When I told her about it last month she said it's because we are finally breaking through biofilm and reaching the bugs we are trying to reach. During that last phone consult, which I may or may not have blogged about, she also said to start back on Sporanox once I am done with Albenza. I have not done that yet and asked if I could just wait until September when I see her and she can muscle test me for it. She said that would be fine.

In addition, she wants to get some labwork done so Destiny is going to fax a lab requisition to Labcorb and I will go next week to get blood drawn. I can't wait to meet Dr. K and wonder what he will have to say about all of this.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

R.I.P. Mojo

It's hard to believe that it has been 2 months since my last update about Mojo. So much has happened that I don't even remember all the details. In a nutshell, he kept going in and out of remission but we kept him feeling fairly good with some Prednisone, LDN, Cycophosphamide, and an occasional round of chemo.

On Thursday August 2nd I dropped him off at Bluepearl for IV chemo. I think he got Doxy but it may have been Vinc. It's all kind of a blur now. That Sunday I dropped him off at Bluepearl for boarding because DH and I were going out of town for 3 days. We were SO glad they kept him for us because they are open 24/7 so we knew he would not be alone in case of a thunderstorm.

When we came back to pick him up Wednesday August 8th the lymph nodes in his neck had actually gotten bigger. We talked to Dr. Johnson who said she would like to "ride it out" a bit longer since otherwise he was feeling pretty good. She said to call Bluepearl if anything at all changes.

Saturday the lymph nodes seemed a bit bigger and he was posturing again. We called Blue Pearl and they said to bring him in if he is in distress. He wasn't really in distress, but we noticed he was limping slightly. So DH took him to McCormick Animal Clinic, our regular vet, and Dr. McCormick checked him out thoroughly. He said that there was something going on with his left shoulder but the limping could be due to the weather change or arthritis and to give him Tramadol for the pain. I gave him three Tramadol when DH came home with him and he seemed fine the rest of the day. Actually, DH said Mojo had stopped limping by the time he got to McCormick's.

That night we had people over for dinner and Mojo was his usual self - happy, loving, and enjoying our guests. He was playing with Pepper, eager for food, and seemed fine. Sunday morning when I woke up around 5:45 he was still sleeping and snoring rather loud with short breaths. That was unusual. When I went downstairs he just stood at the top of the stairs and looked at me and I had to coax him to come down. Also very unusual. Ordinarily Mojo would run down the stairs ahead of me, run outside to do his business, then run back inside because he knew he would get a treat after he comes back in. I could barely get him to go outside and when he came back in he just laid down on a towel on the floor and stayed there. He didn't even get up and come over when I got the dog treats out. At this point I was concerned. I woke DH up and then called Blue Pearl to tell them we were bringing him in.

We hadn't given him anymore Tramadol the night before and at Blue Pearl they thought maybe he was "just" in pain, but I had a feeling there was more to it. I wanted it to be his shoulder or "just" pain but I know my sweet boy. He looked awful and I knew he felt awful and that's not how he used to act when he was in pain. In addition, the lymph nodes in his neck seemed even bigger.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Slow Cooker Leg of Lamb with Garlic and Bacon

Have I mentioned that I love my Hamilton Beach Slow Cooker? I really need to do a review on it because I really do love using it.

Anyway, I originally was going to make a bacon wrapped, slow roasted leg of lamb, but since temps are in the triple digits again, and my AC has been running practically non-stop, I didn't think running the oven for several hours was a good idea. So I used the slow cooker instead and I will make the slow (oven) roasted leg of lamb in the fall when it's a bit cooler outside.

what you need:
  • 1 boneless lamb leg (mine weighed 5.5 lbs)
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • 6 slices uncured, unseasoned bacon (seasoned will work, too)
  • 1 medium organic onion
  • rosemary powder
  • salt
  • pepper
what you do:
Place the 6 bacon slices in the bottom of your slow cooker. Sprinkle liberally with Celtic sea salt. Omit this step if you are using seasoned bacon. Slice your onion and place on top of bacon.

Season the leg of lamb on all sides with rosemary powder, salt, and pepper, then place on top of the onions and bacon. Cut 8 slits into top of lamb and stuff garlic cloves inside those incisions.

Chimichurri Chicken Salad

what you need:
  • 1/2 cup chimichurri
  • 2 cups cooked chicken breast (I used boiled)
  • 1 small shallot, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
what you do:
Place all ingredients in a food processor and process to desired consistency. You're done!

Guten Appetit!