Archive for August 2012

Update on Cera   Leave a comment

Yesterday I took Cera to the veterinarian ophthalmologist for a followup concerning the situation with her eyes. It was basically to see how her eyes were responding to her medications and for any follow up questions regarding our options. I also was waiting for a call back from the surgery center in Ft. Myers about our payment options and what we would need to do if it works out.

To sum up the day I got good news, er news, and confusing, frustrating news.

Good news- Her eyes are responding well to the medications. They were at level 13. When I took her in the first time they were 25 and 29…. anything over 25 is abnormal. Anything over 30 is painful. So she is responding well to the medication. That takes SOME  of the urgency off of us. He still recommends we do the surgery sooner rather than later if we want to save her sight because the meds will stop working and when they do they usually stop working quickly and then it’s too late.

Er news- I was disappointed that we were charged another $90 for a follow up appointment. Plus after her surgery she is supposed to come back and stay there for a few nights…. about 160 dollars. That all plus the total we’ve already spent puts us out about an additional 700$.

Confusing/frustrating news- I was still walking out of the office feeling pretty good. I have been really encouraged and touched by the donations we’ve received and we’ve only been collecting for a week. I’ve been amazed that our two biggest donations came from people who don’t even know us. I’ve had hope.

Well the universe couldn’t have that 😉

So I received a phone call from the surgery center to shake things up. The woman explained that they have to have the full amount of money in advance of the surgery, but they do take a care credit program. That has ridiculously high interest after a bit of time. So that was ok.

Then she says that the surgery has a success rate of 75% of successfully removing the glaucoma but she could not tell me at all what the odds were of her keeping her sight. Well that came a as a shock, to say the least. I guess some people can pay 3500 to just keep the eye there, looking normal, even without vision to avoid the glaucoma drops or having the remove the eye.  If she cannot see out of it our best option would be to remove the eye. It wouldn’t make a difference to her…. while I love her beautiful eyes it would be vanity on my part and of no benefit to her.

BUT she says they may be able to save her sight but they can’t tell me the odds without seeing her. Ok, that makes sense, I think. To see her is a consultation and that is NOT included in the price of the surgery. But even if we just wanted the surgery we would still have to drive down there for a consult. That would cost us $80, plus $80-200 dollars in test, plus gas.

After that they could tell us if they could save her sight, and what the odds would be.

Those costs, plus the hospitalization costs, plus the costs we’ve already paid put us at a grand total of over 5,000 if we do the surgery. Or about 2,500 if we just let her go blind.

Look…. I love animals. And I think vets have it really rough because their patients can’t tell them how they feel and they treat a variety of species but I’m beginning to feel that specialists and some vets (not my vet, we love him)…. really take advantage of the love people have for their pets. If I could buy real insurance (that covered specialists and surgeries and allowed me to change vets) it would be somewhat different. But most insurance plans I’ve looked into don’t work for us.

I guess I’m feeling down…. feel like we can’t catch a break.

We were feeling really optimistic at the donation situation. I’m still amazed that our two biggest donations came in from strangers. But we haven’t had a donation in a few days and I’m worried that is all we will to raise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m terribly grateful for as much support as we have…. it’s just difficult to make these decisions on money.

We have the situation with Cera’s eyes, paying for Baxter’s pain medication and the hole in our roof…. lol… and of course all of this is right when we could see the top of the debt hole we had crawled out of, almost.

Anyway, there is the update.

My feeling at the moment is that we should take her to the consultation with the Ft. Myers office. If they can’t save her sight it’s all a moot point. If they can, we have tough decisions to make and it’s going to be very dependent on our ability to being in extra money. And I hate that. I hate asking. I hate not knowing and I hate the time crunch.

So excuse my down-ness today. And I was even more down last night, if you can imagine, so that was why no Cera update.

I do have hope… and it is because of wonderful people in my life.  Every time I feel like we have a handle on this, and the financial situation in total, something has to come flying out of left field to whack me in the head. But that’s life I guess ….

http://www.gofundme.com/10jch8?pc=fb_cr

 

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Posted August 16, 2012 by etainl in Cutting Costs, Pets, Sickness & Health

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Faith in Humanity   Leave a comment

It takes so little to restore my faith in humanity.

I’m usually fairly optimistic… or I put a lot of effort into being positive. But all of this with Baxter and Cera has me a bit overwhelmed and down.

There are people in our life who owe us the money that would pay for a good chunk of Cera’s surgery and we are doing everything we can to get it……. but I cannot hold out hope because it just fills me with anxiety and anger to know it’s right there. But that is a seperate thing. It has caused me to feel overwhelmed and a bit negative this week.

I think it’s understandable, not acceptable though, for me to feel negative.

However, last night Steve checked our donation site for Cera and found that someone we don’t even know donated $100. Just the fact that someone, who doesn’t know us or owe us anything, would give so much put hope in Steve’s eyes. Which made me feel so much better about the situation. We are still a long way off but I’m so grateful.

The quantity was wonderful but it was truly that a total stranger would reach out to help us.

So with that in mind I will be renewing my efforts for small acts of kindness. Smiles, opening doors for people, a kind word, listening more…. all go a long way.

Posted August 10, 2012 by etainl in Life, Pets

My Cera Bear with the pretty eyes   2 comments

I just cannot believe I am writing this post.

About 6 weeks after learning that our fuzzy baby boy, Baxter, had an inoperable tumor and was heading towards the Rainbow Bridge I noticed that my fuzzy girl Cera had some cloudiness in her left eye. The pupils also seemed abnormally large.

I looked it up online but nothing told me that it was anything to be overly concerned about.

(Cera as a puppy… the green stuffed animal is Monkey Man… her first toy ever and the love of her life, he’s in his fourth incarnation right now)

We took her into the vet that weekend. At first he thought he saw a tumor in the eye. My heart stopped. I just stood there stroking her trying to imagine losing both of them so close together. I just kept telling God, “Please let it be something else because I just can’t do this.”

Well he answered my prayer. It was not a tumor but a luxated lens caused by trauma or Glaucoma. The lens in her eye was disconnected and askew. The other eye did not look great either. And time was of the essense.

We got into the veterinarian ophamologist and he found that she did have Glaucoma. He said that she had already lost sight in her left eye do to the pressure from the Glaucoma causing the lens luxation. The right eye would do the same if we didn’t act. He started talking about drops and I had hope, because drops can’t be too expensive.

But the drops are a band-aid. Even with the drops she will lose her vision in 6-12 months. The only thing that can save her vision is laser inner eye surgery. It is not done locally, we would have to travel to Ft. Myers to have it done and it costs $3,500.

Besides that the pressure will continue to build in the left eye. If we do nothing the pressure will continue to build and her eye to bulge. Will be as if she has a permanent migraine. As someone who has migraines I could not let any living creature suffer that. There is a shot we can give her that will help. It has two drawbacks. The first is that over time it will cause her eye to shrink and that will cause pain and mean we need to have the eye removed. Since she is only six he said he didn’t really recommend this. The other is to remove her eye…. that is 950 dollars. Or we can remove the eye and have a prosthetic which is 1250.

So it boils down to we can let her go blind, which will cost us roughly $2,000. Or we can save her sight which will cost us $4,500 dollars.

To say we don’t have it would be an understatement. It is killing me to say that. It kills both of us to think it.

We are trying to find ways to get the money.

 Our first Christmas …. all of us (Cera was born on the same day we had our first date… we joke she is as old as us)

To anyone reading this Steve will mow your lawn, hook up your surround sound system, fix computer issues, or do manual labor to earn money for this. On my part my birthday is in a month… what I want is for my dog to be able to see. Please do not give me gifts… donate to Cera. If I can watch your child for a few hours, come over and do your dishes, tutor your children, or sew anything that I make I will do so for a donation.

Basically if you need something done and you’re willing to pay someone else to do it…. ask us! We will do it!

(you can see the difference between happy Cera and sad Cera here)
To our the families who have adopted our rescues:

I feel terrible even saying this but I have to.

When we started rescuing and fostering we did it because it was the right thing and because we could. We rarely received compensation and if we did it never covered what it cost to rescue, feed, train and vet any of the dogs.

If you appreciate what we did, and what we want to continue to do, please consider helping. I feel wrong asking but I would do just about anything, even beg for money, to help Cera.

Cera is the reason we started rescuing. The first rescue that we organized, which saved 24 dogs and 4 cats was because I saw the picture of a little girl dog who looked so much like Cera I could not let her die. When I called to adopt her I found out there were 10 other dogs in danger and it avalanched from there. It literally is because of Cera that there are over 50 dogs out there who have been rescued or fostered by our family.

Cera has put up with a lot in all of that. She has allowed new dogs to chew on her toys, to share her bed, her home, her food and with most difficulty her mama and daddy.

If each of our rescued dogs families donated 25 dollars we would have a good portion of what we need. If each of my Facebook friends gave $5 her surgery would be paid for.

That last fact amazes me because I know times are tough and I know that to a lot of people she is “just a dog”… but who can’t spare $5? And if you can’t… I understand. But please pass this around to others.

She is not just a dog. She is a beautiful soul who is family. She IS family and I feel so much like a failure. If I had taken her into the vet sooner some of this might have been avoided. I am trying not to beat myself up for it, but it’s true.

It was suggested to me that her quality of life would be compromised and I should just put her to sleep. She is six years old. She LOVES life… she loves us. She has already struggled with life and it’s not her time to go. (for those of you who don’t know Cera was born with holes in her brain. Probably due to exposure to distemper while in utero. When she came to us she bobbled and shook as if she had Parkinsons. There was so much she could not do. After some water therapy she improved and gets along better… but struggles. She cannot jump on furniture or move quickly and her back legs give out on her often). She loves to go for walks, to swim, to play, she loves any type of attention and love. She loves to stand with her face in the wind, close her eyes and “talk to God”…. I don’t know how else to describe it but she looks as if she’s listening to His answers when she does this.

 (you can see the difference in her left eye and right eye here… this is after her first drop dosage that gave her iris back again)

I’ve been told that dogs do alright being blind. But she lives in a house with one small child and we’d like to have at least one more. I worry about her stepping on a baby… about a baby stepping on her. About her living in fear of a toddler grabbing her unawares… and how will she react to all of this.

Even if you believe she is “just a dog” do this for me. Do this out of compassion. Do this because you couldn’t do something else small. Share her story, her link, give $5 or more and help me or her….
I cannot do anything to save Baxter but I am going to do everything I can for Cera because I can. I will not go down without a fight.

Please help us help her!

http://www.gofundme.com/10jch8

Posted August 9, 2012 by etainl in Cutting Costs, Health/Exercise, Pets

Family Traditions   4 comments

I wanted to write about some of our family’s unique traditions but in the meantime I was wondering what are YOUR family traditions?

I love a good tradition… I love the familiarity of knowing what will happen on Christmas Eve or my birthday evening. My family was big on traditions and I want to incorporate them into our family life as well as create our own.

Since I’m looking to create some of our own I’d love to steal hear what some of yours are. So here are some of the ones we had growing up so that you can steal enjoy hearing them.

– We did the advent calendar every Sunday leading up to Christmas and on Christmas Eve we would light the last candle and sing Happy Birthday to baby Jesus.

– During the holiday season a little empty manager would appear and my brother and I were to put a piece of straw in the manager every time we did something kind or loving or that Jesus would approve of. It was a nice reminder that the season was about more than gifts and glitz. I remember my brother doing something nice for me and telling him excitedly, “You should go put a piece of straw in!” It was the honor system and not punitive, we were never told to take any out. On Christmas Eve we would put a little figure of baby Jesus in the manger after singing Happy Birthday and we’d also sing Away in a Manger. The kinder we were the softer his bed.

– Of course we left cookies and milk out for Santa and we always got a letter back from him the next day. We also left an apple or carrot for Rudolph 😉

-On Christmas Eve we were allowed to open ONE gift… that my mom picked. That was inevitably new pajamas or slipper or something adorable like that.

– Every year my grandfather or father would need to run to the store to get milk and then Santa would call to tell us he was on his way and to hurry to bed. I always felt so bad that Dad or Poppop missed that call …. 😉

– My father would always read Twas the Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve… to this day I have the entire poem memorized.

— We had Santa “peepers” owl shaped binoculars and right before bed we would go out and look for Santa’s sleigh and/or Rudolph’s nose. Inevitably one of us would “spot” him and this would be my parents queue to rush us off to bed before he arrived.

-We had to have our letter for Santa that said what we wanted for Christmas ready by the weekend after Thanksgiving, so he had time to make everything. We’d lay it in the fireplace before bed and in the morning it would be gone!!!!

-Christmas morning we were not allowed to get up until the sun was up, this rule was implemented as my brother and I got up progressively earlier. But we were allowed to hang out in each others room…. I would always keep the gifts I got for him in my room so when he’d sneak in I’d have something for him.

-My mom would freeze maraschino cherries and sprite into ice cubes on Christmas and Easter… some were red and some were green. It was the most awesome thing ever!

– Of course we dyed our Easter eggs….can’t think of anything beyond the usual for Easter. We were allowed a few minutes to check out our baskets before church and allowed to hunt for an egg or two for breakfast. When we got home we got to do our Easter Egg hunt for the real eggs. After lunch we did a Nana and Poppop search for the little plastic eggs full of goodies.

-When we were sick we had a special sick blanket and sick cup. Mom would make us a bed on the couch or on the floor of her room and would always make whatever we wanted for lunch.

– On our birthdays we always got to pick the restaurant, within reason, that we went to for family dinner. This became a HUGE decision that resulted from weeks of conferencing together… especially because my brothers birthday and mine are 10 days apart.

– We got to select ANYTHING we wanted our birthday cake to be and mom would attempt it. This resulted in my brother issuing some pretty crazy challenges for her.

-On Mother’s Day and Father’s Day we either made breakfast in bed for them (and they pretended it was good) or we took them to McDonalds (which they pretended was good as well).

-On Mother’s Day my mother and Nana got an orchid corsage to wear. All the ladies got them for Easter.

– We always took our photo in the same spot in front of the fireplace for the first day of school and any other big event.

– If we saw my mom or dad shopping for a gift and asked what they were getting they would tell us “Kitten britches” or “Kitten mittens”… that when when an overexcited 4 year old would blurt out “Daddy I know what Mommy got you for your birthday!” It was funny rather than ruining the surprise.

-On random days my mom or dad would show up to school to eat lunch with us, or take us to lunch. Either way it made me feel special.

-On random days my mom would leave a card or note in my lunch box 🙂

-On New Years Eve my parents would make pillow beds on the floor of the living room for us and we’d watch family movies of the previous year until it was time to watch Dick Clark… if we didn’t make it to midnight and fell asleep… no biggie, we were already in “bed.”

-Tuesday night was No TV night and Family Game Night.

-In the summer we tried to have picnics once a week.

-On vacations my brother and I would take turns buying each other gifts or souvenirs. We rarely bought ourselves anything but always got what we wanted 😉

-My mom always made our Halloween costumes…

(This was both my brothers favorite and my favorite costumes ever… Tiger and the Princess)

Oh man… I am just sure I am forgetting some things….
Oh well, my mother reads my blog so I’m sure she’ll remind me.

There are also some things I remember my parents, particularly my Dad, always saying…. not quite traditions but they stuck.

-When we’d leave for vacation, finally, after finding the last bag, remembering to turn out the lights etc he’d always say “We’re off like a herd of turtles”

-When driving he’d tell us whoever saw a cow first owed him $10…. If you’ve ever driven through Florida you realize this was a clever way to keep us hunched over and quiet with our eyes covered for a while. We never did pay him….

-Eventually as we got older and cleverer we would say they weren’t cows they were short necked giraffes or long legged pigs or what not.

-When we got in the mountain and inevitably saw sings that say “Watch for Falling Rock” my father would tell us the story of Princess Falling Rock. How she ran way from home to be with her one true love and her father was still looking for her to this day, thus the signs.