Healing the heart after the loss of a pet

It will be 4 weeks tomorrow at 4:30 pm that we lost our precious Marcus. He was our first dog. I didn’t want to use the word “was” because that means he’s not here anymore. I still sob when I think of him and how adorable, fun, energetic and amazing he was. There’s that word again……….Was. Ugh. Cancer in dogs is so common. I joined a facebook group dogs with cancer and I was shocked at how many dogs are affected by cancer. Is it the food we fed them? How about the pesticides used on the lawns? Even if YOU do not use them, maybe your neighbors do. Their precious little noses are always sniffing the ground and inhaling the toxic chemicals used for pest control and weed control. Could it be genetic? Over breeding?

How do you heal your heart and move forward? Should we rescue another dog? Is it too early? Would I love the new rescue like Marcus? Would it make me feel better? How would bringing another dog into the house so soon affect the other dogs we already have? The only way to answer that question is to move forward. And so we did.

I know Marcus would like us to honor his memory. He is the one who inspired us to rescue dogs. We started in 2009 rescuing dogs and donating time and money to the shelters because of his sweetness and fun personality.

Here is the newest rescue. His name is Prince Harry. We adopted him from a local breeder that is retiring the dog. They were very picky (as they should be) in who they gave him to. We were luck enough to be chosen. I here by announce the new member of our household….Prince Harry, King Charles Cavalier

He is so different than the terriers that we have rescued. He is more calm, has a bit of separation anxiety however he is getting much better with each and every passing day.

I know our Marcus would be proud of us for helping yet another dog. I will miss my boy forever and 2 days. And yes, I am crying now .

My Best Friend Marcus

I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since we first met. I remember December of 2008, seeing you in an enclosed area with your siblings. 3 adorable puppies; 2 females and 1 male. I smiled viewing the puppies and I said out loud “Which one of YOU wants to go home with US?”

Marcus as a small puppy 10 weeks old.

You looked up, and walked cautiously toward us. You put your little tiny paws up on the enclosure and licked my hand. I picked you up and you snuggled inside my coat. It appears you have chosen us to be your humans. You were so tiny I could fit you in the palm of my hand. You slept close to me snuggled in my coat for the 1 hour ride to your new home.

We named him Marcus. He is a Morkie which is a hybrid breed. It’s a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkie. Morkies have beautiful hair. They are small dogs that are jam packed full of energy with a ton of personality. He is the king of the house.

He has the best doggie life any dog can imagine. He goes everywhere with us. The beach, Gramma & Papa’s house, rides to the gas station and so many walks I can’t even count the miles. He can run so FAST. He is like a mini lightening bolt. He even sleeps with us every night. He snuggles up behind my head on top of my pillow leaving me about 1/4 of the pillow.

The best thing about Marcus is he lead to us rescuing 4 other dogs. You see he was bored with us humans after a while and needed some 4 legged friends to play with. We rescued Riley, Amber Rose, Charlie and Pumpkin all within the 11 years we had Marcus.

Marcus has had his fair share of health issues. His first one was gastritis. He was only 2 years old. He recovered from that but continued to have digestive issues on and off. The second issue was a cough. He was diagnosed with kennel cough a few times then at one point it was realized he had a trachea collapse issue. He was 9 at that time.

Why am I writing about Marcus? I am writing this tonight as our Marcus is very ill. He has been diagnosed with cancer. He has a mass in his abdomen that has spread to his lungs. His heart is enlarged too. He is on steriods and a diuretic to keep the fluid from building up inside him. We are keeping him comfortable; however the past few days he has shown us he is not going to get better and is deteriorating. He will no longer jump onto the couch, walk up the stairs or scratch at the door to go out to pee. I carry him outside to go to the bathroom. He is eating less and less. He is so sweet and is still wagging his tiny little tail when we talk to him and pet him.

I purchased a dog stroller to take him for walks because he can’t make it to the end of the driveway without sitting down and resting. He LOVES the stroller and really looks forward to his 2 walks a day with me. I also snuggle him up in his pet bed and I walk with him outside in my arms talking to him. I cried alot over the past 6 weeks. I cried when I held him, talked to him and when it was time for bed I cried.

I explained to him that he is very sick and he needs to get better or he will be going to heaven. I told him several times a day how much I love him and how much I will miss him when he is gone. I could see it in his eyes he knew his time was limited. I cried way more than I should have holding him and talking to him, but I couldn’t help it. He’s MY boy.

I can’t imagine my life without him. I am thankful he is still with us and I am enjoying every day like there is no tomorrow.

That no tomorrow came on Thursday July 25th. He wouldn’t take his medicine and decided he didn’t want any more food. We called the vet and she said to bring him in. I walked him out into the back yard holding him in my arms. We stopped and smelled the stargazer lily’s we both loved to smell. I explained to him what was going to happen. I asked Marcus if he would come back to me and tell me his was okay. I said, “Show me a cloud shaped like a dog, or come to me in a dream and tell me you are okay, please baby boy give me some kind of sign so I know you made it”.

We got into the truck with Marcus’s favorite blue bed and he snuggled with me for about 20 minutes into the 1 hour ride to the vet. I was petting him and talking to him. As I gazed down at him, I felt him leave. He was not breathing and his temperature dropped. I looked at my husband with tears streaming down my face and I said “He’s gone, our boy is gone”. I placed my fingers over his eyes to close them. I told him I LOVE YOU MARCUS and I will MISS YOU.

Just like the first day we met him and he picked us out, he left the same exact way. He passed away snuggled in my arms.

I cried the rest of the way to the vet’s office. I opened the door to the vets office and walked him in. I held him so close for the last time and kissed him goodbye.

1 day later I saw this in the sky. On the right hand side just above the puffy cloud is a terrier like looking dog. Maybe it’s my imagination or it is really Marcus telling me he made it.

I will miss you forever times forever into infinity. Thank you for picking us to be your humans

Allergies, Celiac and Food Intolerance


Ever since I can remember I have had allergy and sinus problems.  When I was around 8 years old I can remember being teased for “sniffing”.  I remember everyone saying “Go blow your nose, go get a tissue”.  My nose was stuffed up all the time.  This was back in the 1980’s. I finally went to see an ENT specialist who put me on a steroid nasal spray.  Wow, did that work like a charm.  I was so grateful.  I could breathe through my nose and the congestion was gone.  Nor more sneezing and pressure!! That lasted for about 3 months and then it came back.  I was put on another round of steroid sprays which worked again but it was short lived. 

I also had eczema in every nook and cranny possible.  I had it so bad on the inner part of my elbow and up and down my forearms that I wore a sweater to cover it up.  That sweater acted as my shield against all the comments like..”EWWWW, What’s that gross stuff all over your arms”.   I specifically recall one time itching my skin so bad I got impetigo.  I had to take oatmeal baths and put this heavy paste on my skin each time I got out of the bath tub.  I was not allowed to go swimming either.  The water from the pond or a pool was not good for my skin.  That was torture to a small child.  I recall sitting on the side of the pool or on the beach not being able to go in. 

As I got older, we were able to get my eczema under control.  That was done with steroid creams.  With all these steroids I’m surprised I’m not a hairy, women like lady with a voice like Arnold.  Around the age of 21, I was working for the Government and I finally had INSURANCE!  I went to the allergist to get “scratch tested”.  They injected my back with a bunch of allergens.  The tests came back that I was allergic to dust, mold and rabbits.  Rabbits????  Oh geeze, now how on earth will I ever be able to eliminate rabbits from my life?  Those hairy bastards  LMAO!

I was given an allergy pill to take as needed when I did encounter the dust, mold and those darn rabbits.    Around the age of 30, I started having issues with my stomach and constant lose bowels and urgent, explosive, diarrhea.  Now there are 3 words you don’t want to hear together in a sentence. (UED)  At times it was bloody.   I again, went to the doctor who did blood tests and found nothing wrong in the blood work.  That is when I had my first (with 3 more in my future); colonoscopies. That test showed I had proctitis. I looked at the doctor and said “I have WHAT?” I know the suffix “I T I S” means inflammation so now I have to figure out what a PROC is?  The doctor began to explain:

Proctitis is defined as inflammation of the anus,  OH GREAT, I have a broken Anus.  The opening and lining of the rectum (lower part of the intestine leading to the anus). I feel like such an ass.  Symptoms of proctitis can vary greatly; which is no news to me…One may at first have only minor problems. Proctitis affects the last 6 inches of the rectum and can cause the following:

  • Pain during a bowel movement
  • Soreness in the anal and rectal area
  • Feeling that you didn’t completely empty the bowels after a bowel movement
  • Involuntary spasms and cramping during bowel movements
  • Bleeding, and possibly a discharge

Proctitis can last a short time or become a chronic condition (last for weeks or months or longer).

So now the million dollar question.  I asked the doctor,  “How did I get this? “ 

He rattled off a number of causes; Excessive Antibiotic use ,Autoimmune Disorders and the most bizarre one was  “Foreign objects in the rectum”   I cracked up laughing and said “ Umm, we can rule out that last one doctor”.   

To make a long story even longer, I was once again put on steroids.  This time the steroid has a special twist to it.  I was given a rectal suppository.  Refer to previous paragraph where I thought that was SO VERY FUNNY about objects in the rectum causing my affliction.  Yeah, not so funny now is it ?   The thing was the size of a magnum 44 bullet.  I briefly flashed back to the movie Scar Face where he says  “Say hello to my little friend”.. YIKES. 

I was on the suppositories for 2 weeks and felt SO much better; but with any steroid, it only lasts so long.  I relapsed again…………It was a vicious circle………Cramps, fatigue, and the 3 words again I don’t want to hear together…. Urgent, Explosive Diarrhea.  I pretty much gave up and accepted the fact that I am sick and I will just have to live with it.  I kept an emergency kit in my car for when I traveled.  Unlike most emergency kits, it didn’t contain fix a flat, or flares,  It contained, baby wipes, a clean pair of underwear. 

It wasn’t until my niece Kara was born that I realized what was going on and the importance of  healthy, organic, wholesome and a GLUTEN FREE diet. 

You see, Kara, our little angel, was born with Down Syndrome.  I remember hearing the news.  I remember feeling so sad for my sister and so sad for Kara.  That’s when I had a reality check.  I held that beautiful, little baby in my arms I thought; “Why am I feeling sorry for anyone?”  This little baby girl is beautiful, kind, sweet and loving.    Kara looked up at me and gave me the first of many of her bright, heart warming smiles.  It was the kind of smile that says “Look out world, here I come”.  http://lettucethrive.com/category/fitness/

She has brought so much joy and laughter into our lives.  On top of the Down Syndrome, Kara has Celiac Disease.  I had never heard of this before.  My sister Wendy filled me on the subject and she suggested I do some research on my own.  I looked up all the symptoms of Celiac and they did sound very similar to all the issues I was having.   Then I thought, the doctor said I didn’t have celiac and he wasn’t sure what was wrong with me or why I have proctitis, but here TAKE THIS MEDICINE and come back and see me in 3 months. 

I told you this was a long story.

http://lettucethrive.com/category/general-health/

I started following a diet that was similar to Kara’s.   I eliminated Wheat & Gluten.  Within 2 weeks, my intestines felt a little better.  My aches and pains were slowly subsiding.  My fatigue was lessened.  I had more energy.  I actually felt normal for a change.  Thank you Kara.  http://lettucethrive.com/category/main-dishes/

I do have days where I cheat and have gluten.  30 minutes later I feel lazy, sluggish, crampy and a fogged brain and yes, the U. E. D.  

If your feeling sick all the time, try an elimination diet. Take out wheat, gluten, corn, dairy and soy from your diet for 3 weeks. Note how you feel. Do you feel better or the same? Keep a food journal. Plan, plan, plan your meals and make sure you have plenty of food in your house that does not contain the 5 items above. You may find it very difficult at first however it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Limit sugar also and take out all the GMO products from your diet. That is a large cause of inflammation in your body. Eating wheat and gluten or things that are inflammatory can also irritate raynaund syndrome which I also have.

On that note,  I am going to grocery store to replenish my gluten free supplies, organic veggies and snacks.  I have also taken dairy out of my diet. I switched to coconut yogurt. Chobani has a delicious selection of flavors. It’s the consistency of a pudding instead of the thick greek I was use to eating.

A great site for recipe ideas and GF treats along with our beautiful Kara. 

http://lettucethrive.com/category/desserts/

http://lettucethrive.com/?s=bars

https://www.specialolympics.org/

Home business, profits go to my 5 rescue dogs  

Autoimmune Disorders

So many doctors with out any answers on what’s going on here. Is it an autoimmune disorder? Food allergy?

Symptoms of patient: Toes & feet turn purple, with cracking skin and brittle toe nails, numbness in feet, Raynauds, tired, no energy, weight loss, swollen nose, rashes behind neck, swollen lymph nodes in neck, deja vu frequently, body is randomly cold then hot. Right ear turns bright red and hurts. Symptoms for 1 year. Progressively getting worse.

Autoimmune disorder?

Note the black is nail polish, I advised the patient NOT to use that any more.

All of the blood work taken from the primary care and the rheumatologist came back within normal range. How can that be? Patient prescribed a very low dose of blood pressure medication in the mean time. She has normal blood pressure and is in her mid 20’s Symptoms point to Lupus however tests came back normal

I have been listening to this book on audible by Susan Blum, MD, MPH. It is filled with a great deal of information. I just have to convince the patient to try the elimination diet for starters. The Immune System Recovery Plan.
https://blumcenterforhealth.com/

Feed back greatly appreciated. Please comment.