Thursday, 26 February 2009

One Year On

I cannot believe its been a year since Yogi died. I think its been one of the hardest years of my life to date. The little man left such a hole in our hearts.
Lesley, thank you so much for remembering us. I think of you often too, I think of everyone who is going or who has been through this hell. 
As I look at this picture, I feel a deep sadness and loss. The other day I found some hair that I cut from his tail the day we had to say goodbye. Does it get any easier? Yes, it does, but that feeling in my heart will never heal when I allow myself to go there.
Yogi, I miss you Little Bear.

Friday, 12 September 2008


Seems like I have been away for ages and ages. Unforgivable but the truth is when things are going well, I am not sure what to write about! Sad but true. Things are going well, Mum is back pretty much to normal, Fudge is at home with her and Larry (or Harry as my mum sometimes calls him - no idea why) is his usual grumpy self. And I am feeling SO much better.

I never mentioned it, but since about May I have been on anti-depressants and having counselling. I just couldn't take any more and felt I was losing the plot. Helped me to face many demons from the past and have a future that I look forward to. Although it was hard to admit that I was struggling I think it was the best thing I ever did. I would recommend it to anyone who has long term depression.

Anyway, enough about that and on to nicer things. Tomorrow we are off to Cornwall again for a week. We haven't had a break since April and are both in need of one. We have found a beautiful house in the middle of nowhere in South Cornwall just near the South Devon border. It looks lovely. An acre and a half garden for the lazy collie to wander in and a creak at the bottom. Sounds idyllic, I hope that it is.

I have been keeping up with the blogs though and am amazed and delighted to see Herbie still going strong. He really is Herbie the Wonder Dog!
I cannot believe that in about 8 weeks it will be a year since Yogi was first diagnosed with his cancer. It seems incredible that this year has gone so fast. I still miss him so badly that it hurts sometimes, but I am so grateful that he shared his life with us for as long as he did.

I hope everyone is well and enjoying this wonderful summer (not) that we have had. I promise that I will post some holiday pics when I get back :o)

Sunday, 3 August 2008

I feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders. This is why.
Mum had chemo number 3 and this time was the worst it has ever been. Instead of rallying she got sicker and weaker each day. Last Saturday she called me in tears to take her to the hospital. When I got to her house she was collapsing every few minutes, she couldn't breathe and she was weak and dizzy. I have never been so frightened in all my life. After getting her to the hospital (bad planning meant that we had to get her there in my sports car as the "sensible" car had no petrol! Funny now but not so at the time) she was examined and put on a drip. Then they had to find out what was causing the reaction. ~The options were not nice. Either a clot on the lung, the remaining adrenal gland not working or the chemo had damaged her in some way. They started testing. Day after day she didn't get any better. The test results came back on Thursday. No clot, adrenal gland working, hooray. Trouble was she was still feeling so ill. She still couldn't walk or breathe properly. Thursday afternoon they decided to do a blood transfusion as she was so very anaemic. She was so low and depressed. It was really scary. On Friday morning I spoke to her and she was just like her old self!! She said she felt great! She had one more bag of blood to go and then she wanted a lift to Essex about 100 miles away to see her grand-daughter in her school play!!! Rich picked her up and did the honours and see the play she did. I simply cannot believe the strength and determination that she has. If I had half of it, I would be proud.

She cannot have any more chemo as that last one nearly finished her off. She just has to get strong now and live her life. The doctors all say how well she has done to get this far. She has had most of the sessions so all that will help.

I just feel that things are going to be easier now. It has been a year and a half of hell. A lot of the time I haven't known which way is up really. Coping with all this and Yogi has tested me to my limits I think. Lesley, you are right, she is the Herbie of the human world!!

So, in order to prepare her for having Fudge back, we thought it would be easier if she had short hair (Fudge not mum :o)). This is the result.....
Not sure if she looks like a fox with mange or a goat maybe???

It will be 2 or 3 weeks before she can go home so hopefully it will have grown a bit by then :o) And mum will have forgiven us!!!!

Actually I think that she is much more comfortable in this heat without that great thick coat and mum does too (thankfully)

Larry didn't recognise her and growled when she came back. Then he has been moaning constantly about "women walking around in the buff - not right at all" :o)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Dr Larry to the Rescue.....

When mum is feeling OK, she picks up the dogs from our house while we are at work to keep her company during the day. This is great for her (I think) and also great for the dogs. Larry seems to think that it is his job to keep her active. He will sit just behind her chair, just out of reach and start to make noises :o) She calls him, he stares at her and makes more noises. She has to then get up and stroke him, or give him a biscuit or play with him!!! He is turning into a spoiled brat and she is turning into his slave :o). Trouble is when he trys pulling that stunt at home. It doesn't work here. I would imagine its the same when kids go round to their grandparents and get spoiled rotten. Oh well, as long as he knows he can wrap my mum round his little paw but it won't work with me! Larry says he is just keeping her active....hmmmm. :o)

Tomorrow is chemo number 3 for mum providing the blood test was OK on Friday. We are dreading it a bit as after a few days she will NOT be feeling well at all. But she is doing so well to continue. If it was me, I am not sure that I would. Last week her temperature dropped down to 33. That I gather is nearly hypothermic!! It is a real worry each time she has a treatment as to how she will be.
There is light at the end of the tunnel. After this cycle, there is just one more to go. I gather that only one person that has been treated with this protocol at this hospital has ever completed the course. When mum finishes she will be the second one! Well done mum!!

The hospital have also completed their investigation following her misdiagnosis. They have apologised. The cancer was visible on Xray a year before they told her. Where we go from here I don't know. At the moment, we just need to concentrate on getting her through this and then well and not dwell on the past.
That's what Larry and Fudge say anyway :o)

Sunday, 29 June 2008

The last 4 weeks have been so difficult for my poor mum. She seems to have turned into a little old lady. The chemo has sapped her strength, her energy and sometimes she seems so very low which is frightening. For most of it she has been able to do absolutely nothing. Unable to walk with or look after Fudge. Unable to do things that we all take for granted like simple housework. Understandably she gets very low at times. She was supposed to start another cycle last Monday following a blood test to check that she was strong enough to take it. She wasn't. Her white cell count had dropped further and it was just too dangerous to inflict another bout of chemo on her already depleted immune system. She saw the oncologist who seemed rather surprised that she would even consider going back for more.

Fudge has more or less been permanently living with us for quite a while now. Mum keeps saying that Fudge sees our home as hers. I find that heartbreaking, she must feel like she has lost everything. Yes, Fudge is happy here with Larry, but when we take her back to spend the day at Mum's she gets so excited. She still knows that Mum is HER Mum. I guess that we should be grateful that she is such an adaptable little dog. I wish that she could resume her normal life back where she belongs with Mum though.

Yesterday Mum made a decision. I think that over the past week she has been feeling stronger and brighter. She says that if she is unable to have the chemo tomorrow, she is not going to continue. She doesn't want to feel ill any more. I have to say that I agree with her. It is scary but is it worth months and months of feeling terrible for such a small benefit? All we can do is support her decision and pray that whatever happens is for the best...

On a brighter note, here are some pics of the dogs on a recent weekend away. Larry, against explicit instructions not to, decided to take matters into his own paws and have a mud bath! He was just about covered from head to toe in brown gook. Since there was nowhere to wash him he had to stay like that til we got home :o) For days afterwards his coat had a pinkish tinge to it. In fact it still isn't quite back to his pristine white that it should be. Good old Larry :o)


Monday, 9 June 2008

The dark side ......

Firstly, I need to apologise for staying away for rather a long time. I can only put it down to an incredibly low mood. Blogging when feeling that bad seemed almost too difficult.
It seemed to spiral downwards when we saw the oncologist and they said that mum needed chemo. The details that followed were not pleasant at all.
The chemo that mum needed was for the lung cancer. The breast cancer, they said needed no further treatment. The lung, as the cancer had spread (to the adrenals) needed to be blasted with chemicals so strong that they had the potential to wipe someone out completely. The oncologist had treated 5 people with this particular protocol. Only 1 had managed to finish the course! The actual drugs and the side effects were so aggressive that they are virtually intolerable (or so we were told) Furthermore, the only benefit is a 5% extra chance that the cancer will not return (I don't think that even means "ever" but for a reasonable amount of time). Mum being the tough cookie that she is, wants to take that "5%". We have to support that decision. Not sure if it is all that has happened lately but it sent me into a deep deep gloom. The thought of more illness, more suffering and more unknown was such a lot to contend with and I must admit I am not handling it well.
So, last Monday was D Day or C = Chemo day. An overnight stay while mum is pumped through with the most powerful drugs and then wait. The side effects started arriving the next day. Sickness being the worst. By Friday, she was blacking out, being sick and completely beside herself with distress. Back to hospital. They found her blood pressure through the floor and complete dehydration. I cannot fault the hospital, they took her straight in and got her on a drip. Gave her different medication for the nausea and got her feeling human again. What a scare though. Yesterday she was feeling brighter and more ready for today's onslaught. So, she now gets a week and a bit to recover and then more of the same. She is going to see how she feels at the end of this week and decide along with her doctors whether she can continue. She is very brave I am very scared. My fears seem to be coming true. I must try and be more positve but God, is it hard. Every little problem seems magnified these days.
So, that's why I haven't been blogging lately. When all seems so very black it's difficult to think straight. I am trying....hard.
Larry is doing his best to keep our spirits up. Don't know what I would do without him either. I wish that Yogi was here too......

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Bank Holiday in Norfolk

Over the last few months we have spent many of our weekends in Norfolk. Rich's parents live near there and it is only about one hour or so from where we live so very convenient for a quick getaway. I love it there especially the north Norfolk coast and I think it saved my sanity when Yogi and my mum were so ill.

So the last weekend with the prospect of lovely walks AND warm weather was an enticing thought. Unfortunately it seemed that was everyone else's idea too :o). Usually we don't see anyone on our walks, this time there was people EVERYWHERE! Quite a shock to the system. Still had a great time though.

We thought that we should take a friend for Larry so he doesn't get too used to being an only dog. So we borrowed Fudge off Mum for the weekend. It was lovely to have two dogs again. I still miss Yogi terribly but the pain is less raw now. I can think of him and smile and I never thought I would be able to do that again. I can also think of him and cry, but it's not that devastating out of control feeling that I used to have. I guess that's called acceptance.

On the Saturday we chose a walk of about 9 miles. Not too taxing since Norfolk is relatively flat but we knew it would take all day (with a stop at a local watering hole) Rich's mum and dad were also up for it. Not bad for a couple in their 70's!!!! The walk began at Burnham Overy and took in the stunning Holkham Hall and deer park then finished walking along the dunes back to Burnham. That was probably the toughest bit. Walking on sand is a bit like walking through treacle and the last couple of miles were quite hard on all of us even the dogs looked a bit pooped.

Walking through the deer park and around the hall was lovely. Beautiful grounds and incredible views. Then to get out there was a cattle grid. None of us could see a gate nearby to take the dogs through so the only way was to carry them over as I have seen dogs falling through and it could easily break one of their legs. That is my job (Rich has a dodgy back so best if he doesn't pick up heavy or awkward weights) so picked up Larry and began to teeter over. Larry weighs about 30 kilos so is not a light dog and although once up in the air I can manage I wouldn't say it's exactly easy. As I struggled across trying not to fall through the grid, an unbelievably selfish man in a car, obviously in a hurry couldn't wait and decided to cross the grid at the same time. I lost it a little and told him off a bit. Why is everyone in such a hurry all the time??? Anyway, then he waited until I put Larry down and went off. Went back for Fudge (another porky dog) and did the same again. By this time, I was red in the face and quite knackered. There was another man (not sure if he was a gate man) sitting in a chair by a shop. He had been watching it all. As I put Fudge down he piped up with "why didn't you use the gate over there?" Aaarrrggghhhh.....:o)))

Recovering my dignity we walked away and into a wood. Here there were two gorgeous horses in a field that I wanted to make friends with. Spent a lovely 10 minutes or so talking to them and stroking them. One was a skewbald mare and the other a lovely dark bay gelding. He looked very young and I wondered if he was her foal. They seemed friendly and enjoyed the fuss. I leaned forward as I wanted to see if they were shod (I am nosey like that) and all of a sudden, the mare sank her teeth into my back!!!! Boy was that painful. My fault entirely as I didn't really know her but......It gave everyone a good laugh though :o)

On Sunday we did another 8 miles around Holme and Hunstanton. I am SO impressed with Larry as he didn't seem stiff at all. He seems to be changing. He is calmer and doesn't seem so keen to have a go at anyone that comes near him. Maybe being an only dog suits him. I'm not sure. Which reminds me, I must do "part 2" of his story.

Holkham Hall

The deer park at Holkham

The horses. I should've known she was thinking evil thoughts when she was nibbling my bum!!!

The damage......