We Now Have A Smoking Gun

That gun’s name is Allergies.

An Allergy Sufferer's Worst Nightmare

Allergies have been the sources of almost all of my upper respiratory issues over the last year. I suspected they were the problem, but tried to deny it since the 10 years of allergy shots I endured growing up were awful.

I finally bit the bullet and I had my first visit with my new ENT doctor last week and went for testing yesterday. My arms are now covered in red dots. I have some new medications in my arsenal and I’m starting sublingual drops in two weeks. Sublingual drops are new on the scene and my out-of-pocket expense for those (which can be administered at home) are about the same for the equivalent copays for office administered shots.

I’m thankful to know that it’s something that can be treated. By April, I should be off almost all the medicines (except nose sprays on an as needed basis) and should be feeling better.

It’s time to get my fall/winter running started now that I can breathe though my nose.



[Creative Commons License photo credit: mootown]

Waning Light

What is it with September?

Heather Armstrong articulates this really well.

Blue and Yellow
Creative Commons License photo credit: Hjalm

Septembers have become problematic for me.

Four years ago, husband left to go out-of-town for work for three months.

Three years ago, we had to put our other dog down and a friend of ours was brutally attacked.

Two years ago, another friend and I parted ways on less than pleasant terms. I still hope we find each other again one day.

Last year, husband left to go out-of-town for work for a month.

This year, husband has been out-of-town again and Lucky died.

Here’s to hoping that next September is relatively uneventful and that I’ll only be working through the general change of seasons. I woke up this morning with prayers of thanksgiving that September was over. The temperature dropped 10 degrees from yesterday and fall is definitely here. The waning light in the evenings is welcome, but also a harbinger that winter is coming//sorry about that link. couldn’t resist.// October is already looking up…

Status Update on the Dog

While I’ve tweeted about Lucky since the end of June, I haven’t written an update post about how he’s been doing.

The week after that post was was written, Lucky was down to 75 pounds–skin and bones. Over the next two weeks, we got him back up to about 83 pounds, where he held steady until our last doctor’s appointment four weeks ago. He received three rounds of CCNU three weeks apart and at the last CCNU, we suspected he was relapsing. Sure enough, he was. We responded with another elspar treatment followed by another chemo drug. At this point, the oncologist suspected that the lymphomas was affecting his nervous system. We took him for a consult and the neurologist didn’t know if the lymphoma was affecting his nervous system or if it was a disc issue in his spine. We elected not to do an MRI (at $2,000+) because he wasn’t a candidate for surgery if it was a disc and chemo would be the treatment if it was lymphoma. Either way, the oncologist recommended chemo every week or every other week as the best treatment to maintain Lucky’s quality of life for as long as possible. Remission was off the table.

At this point, husband and I took at step back to decide if we felt like we could continue (financially, emotionally, etc…) and whether we felt like Lucky could handle the increased visits to the doctor.

We elected to stop treatment and notified the oncologist last week.

The chemo drugs are now out of his system. He’s on supportive medications. The lymph nodes under his neck are already almost as large as they were before we started treatment in June and he’s stopped vocalizing and barking. We’re concerned that these enlarged nodes will eventually make eating, drinking, and breathing extremely difficult, at which point a decision will be made. He’s sleeping a lot (consistent with pre-treatment Lucky), but his weight appears to be holding steady.

For now, we’re just trying to enjoy every day with him because I never know when I’m going to come home from work and find him gone.

He’s such a good dog.