Archive for the ‘Sickness & Health’ Category

Cera’s Eye Surgery- The Best Laid Plans   3 comments

First of all… if anyone wants to donate here is the link :

So it has been a while since I updated on Cera’s condition. Mostly because I was confused and we weren’t sure where we were heading next.

We received about a fourth of what we needed for the surgery and a fifth of what we needed to take care of her good eye overall. Which is amazing!

We were optimistic and called to schedule the surgery. That was when we received the first bit of confusing news. The technician told me that the surgery had 70% chance of curing the glaucoma, which we knew. What we didn’t know is that it might not save her sight, in fact, it might cause her to lose her sight.


During the surgery they go in and laser up the flows and drainage on the eye to prevent them from getting closed and causing the eye to swell. This is how she lost sight in her right eye… the swelling caused the nerve to pop and damage the eye and sight was lost. The surgery delicately burns those open so that it will always flow. However, it takes about a week for the canals to heal and the surgery to start working. During that week her eye may swell and the nerve damage can cause blindness. If we can get through the week without that excessive swelling and the surgery cured the glaucoma she is fine and so is her sight. But there is a chance that the glaucoma could be cured but her sight would have been lost because of the surgery.

If we do nothing she will lose her sight anyway. But to pay $3,500 so the eye looks good but doesn’t work seems like a bad idea.

The center could not give us any indication of her odds. They said they don’t know, but that having blue eyes could put her at a disadvantage.

Steve and I talked about this over and over.

Our options at this point were:

A. Pay the 3500 to try to save the sight of the left eye. We would hope that she falls in the 70% for it to cure the glaucoma AND the unknown odds that her sight is also saved. Later we would have to still remove the right eye, which is sightless ($1000).

B. Keep her on medication, which is running about 100 a month on average, until it starts to fail and then have both eyes removed when she goes blind ($2000).


We were discussing it. I read about how blind dogs did fine. I heard from people about how their dogs did all right blind. We had a blind dog briefly and he did all right. But I kept thinking of how Cera loves to chase squirrels, not that she is the most active dog but she does love this. How she watches me closely when I cook. I just wondered…. she is already a fairly inactive dog and most of the things that make her active involve her sight.

While we were discussing it and waiting and praying I took lots of pictures. Particularly of her and Lydia. Or Baxter and Lydia (by the way he is still doing great! We are excited we’ve had this much time with him!) or the two of them together.

We discussed how if we did not do the surgery we would contact those generous enough to donate to ask them if they were ok if we used the money for the eye removal surgery and if not we could return it or donate it to an animal group.

Over Thanksgiving we ran out of one of her meds (it has a false bottom so it’s hard to tell when it’s getting low). I thought we could go the day after Thanksgiving for more but they were closed and we had to wait till Monday.

Over that weekend she went blind. She could not see from either eye.

She slunk along the walls. She laid against my legs. She jumped at every noise. She was clearly depressed.


Beyond that she got around ok. She didn’t follow me from room to room like normal. But she did follow me. She made it in and out of the house for potties. She dealt with the toddler that could decide to bestow kisses or hugs at any minute.

Steve and I didn’t really talk about it. Part of me felt relieved that the decision was taken from us. Part of me was depressed with her.

On Monday,when I refilled her medication, her sight came back.

I took her to her ophthalmologist, he called the weekend an “episode”. He said that the next one would likely be permanent. Surprisingly, there was no real nerve damage from the episode and she was still an excellent candidate for the surgery.


I talked to him about our concerns. About putting her through the surgery without knowing the odds. Steve had pointed out it was like putting $3,500 (that we don’t have) into a slot machine, we don’t know the odds and it’s all on one spin. I also spoke to him about her depression.

The doctor understood. He said the depression usually passed for dogs, they learned to adjust and they went back to normal, for the most part.

As to the odds of it saving her sight, he said that they can’t give odds because each dog reacts differently and they don’t want patients upset with them if it doesn’t work. Which I understand but knowing some sort of percentage would really help with a decision. He said in the last year or two he had sent three dogs to them for the same surgery. He said two of them had full sight afterwards and one had obstructed vision, but had obstructed vision before the surgery so it wasn’t really due to the surgery.


Well, that story made me feel better.

Steve and I talked about it again. He said that her depression had made him depressed. We both felt that we had failed her by not giving her a chance to fight it. She has overcome so much in her life that maybe this was one more thing that she could do…. beat the odds again.

So we have decided to go ahead with the surgery. As of now, it is scheduled for next Wednesday, December 19th. I will have to have her at Ft. Myers at 8 am and I will bring her back to our vet for observation that afternoon.

I am praying that if this is a bad idea something will stop us. We still have to do her blood work and other things to prepare for it and make sure she is a candidate.

I’m nervous. I’m questioning my decision. I’m hoping she will be fine.

IMG_9124 IMG_9131

She is my fuzzy baby.

Unfortunately money is still an issue.

I’m reposting the link to the donation site if anyone wants to help us.

If you can’t help financially we understand. Please repost or just pray for us.

Pray that the doctor does a quick job so that her chances of swelling are slim. Pray that her swelling is low and her results are good.


And even though this post is about Cera, here is one of my favorite pictures of Baxter. He is sleeping in front of Lydia’s bed… you can see her in the background 🙂


Posted December 12, 2012 by etainl in Pets, Sickness & Health

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 ….


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

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Did it work?   Leave a comment

I am sure you all have been anxiously awaiting my post concerning the week long leg slimming exercises. Did they work? Did I keep up with them? Am I still walking? That sort of thing….

The answers in summary are maybe, sorta and yes!

I’m delayed because we had our most awesome birthday weekend for Steve, followed by the Fourth of July….. lots of Daddy time, trip to Orlando and other coolness. I may do a post about it since it was pretty much the “cool thing” for LA and me for the week unless I do something else in the next few days.

So the exercises…. I definitely felt that the first two were the most effective of the bunch. There were a few in there that didn’t make me “feel the burn” or anything. I was very concerned that I would be sore doing them daily but there was only minimal soreness.

I really tried to keep up with them daily.

Thursday I rocked!

Friday I did all but one set and I did them right before having some girls over for Book Club…. dedication.

Saturday I woke up battling a migraine so I did all of them except the floor exercises but I felt like they put a strain on my neck/back a bit.

Sunday…. I did them all!

Monday…. I had a super productive morning so the universe had to compensate and send another migraine my way so I didn’t do anything 😦

Tuesday …. I did only the standing ones, because I was afraid of the migraine returning.

Wednesday I did them all.

Thursday…. I did nothing.

Friday (I added an extra day in there because I was a slacker) and I did the standing ones again.

I really felt like the standing ones did the most for me…. but also for some reasons the floor work ones made me feel like they were inviting pain. This is nothing new. I have read in every migraine book and pamphlet that exercising is supposed to help migraines. Some even say if you feel one coming on to go for a walk. But, besides the occasional walk, it seems to be the opposite for me. I don’t know if it’s my body’s self defense mechanism as it fights exercise or if I’m totally doing it wrong. But it’s true… not an excuse. And it is especially true of anything involving “floor work”…. this is explains why I have less than spectacular abs. Or at least why I’m offering up that I have less than spectacular abs.
Also LA tends to think I’ma jungle gym whenever I lay on the floor to exercise.

I did pretty good watching what I ate. Resisted the ice cream and had fruit instead.


My weight stayed the same… went up a pound or two actually (or could be that I’d just eaten, I don’t remember).

When I started I measured my thighs and they were 20 inches and 22 inches in different locations. When I remeasured after a week they were 21 inches in both locations. So I’m not sure if this counts as a success….. hmmmmmmmm

BUT WAIT!!!! Then I read a blurb in Parents Magazine that says:

Danish scientists found that women with skinny thighs had a higher risk of heart disease and premature death than those with meatier ones.

At this point I’m thinking… ok so there is a benefit to my chunky thighs! Yes!!!!
I continue reading….

A circumference of 24.4 inches was most protective.

Not gonna lie… my first thought was “Yes! Danish scientists think I have slender thighs.”

I reveled in that for a minute before I realized, “Danish scientists also think I’m going to die prematurely! Yikes!”

But in all seriousness I am still on a somewhat fitness kick. I’ve looked into Paleo diet, but I’m not sure I can forego bread. I am working on a new exercise plan and I will be posting about it here too…..
Still need nagging! 😉

Sleep Catch up   6 comments

So for a week or so I didn’t write because everything was seemingly back on track and we were just going along, enjoying how it went.

Then I didn’t write for a week or so because things were horribly wrong and I was too grouchy/tired to be bothered writing about it. At that point it wasn’t so much LA that was the problem but Cera, our furry baby. I don’t know if it was jealousy or what not but she suddenly decided to wake up a couple of times a night … between LA’s wake ups!

And when she wasn’t waking me up she was waking LA up. So between the two of them I was getting up nearly every hour.

Not good.

Steve and I were just talking about moving her to her own room.

We both love having her close but we definitely want to make sure at some point in the future our bedroom allows for some privacy for us as a couple… not just as parents. We are ok with her coming in for nightmares, thunderstorms, tummy aches and even just for morning cuddles… but eventually we want to have the evenings for ourselves.

The problem is she still is inconsistent with her sleep and I feel that if we move her it will only make her sleep more inconsistent. Mainly because it will take me longer to get to her and she will be more awake by the time I get there.

We tried giving her oatmeal right before bed…. I’ve tried several of the No Cry Sleep solution… but we are at the point that where Daddy will have to be involved too.

I hate to ask him to do this because he is at work all day and I don’t want to mess up his sleep too much. I know it’s a natural parent thing… but since LA sleeps in until 9 or 10 I get to sleep in a bit. Not fabulous or consistent sleep mind you but it helps take the edge off any night wakings etc.

But I think we’re there.

We talked about it a bit and I think soon we’re going to try to have him put her to bed. I already know that in the evening if he goes in and puts the paci back in her mouth for a wake up she goes right back to sleep 90% of the time. If I do it it doesn’t work 90% of the time lol.

So I think once she’s over her initial shock of it being Daddy in the middle of the night (and I pretty much guarantee she will be furious the first few times) I think it might help her get used to not having that middle of the night feeding and we can go from there.

I hope….

And I’m trying to get Cera to stop doing the night time wake ups… feeding her earlier, helping her find a comfy place to sleep (pretty much any soft surface OTHER than her bed)… if she keeps it up I’ll have to take her to the vet because it’s not normal for her to potty this much at night.

So hopefully that will work….


Posted April 19, 2011 by etainl in Mommy-hood, New Mom, Sickness & Health

The Sleep Game- success!! (kinda)   4 comments

Well, I have not updated anything concerning our sleeping situation. Mainly because she has been sleeping.

It seems the book is so powerful that simply owning it intimidates your child into sleeping properly again!


Actually, I think it was one of two things. Either it really was the starting of solid foods that upset her system and therefore her sleep pattern and now we have adjusted so we are back on track, actually even a bit better than before. Or the few suggestions from the book (The No Cry Sleep Solution) really made that much of a difference.

So just for the sake of argument… and in case I have to come back to it (because it could get bad again, who knows) I’m going to tell you what the book suggests and what we did.

The first step is to document your childs sleeping patterns, including naps. She also suggested writing down bedtime routine so you can see a pattern, or a lack thereof.

So while we were having problems I started:

11:45 am mostly to sleep while nursing, moved to crib while drowsy (as book suggested)

12- up

1 fell asleep in car

1:30 awake- 30 minute nap

5 fell asleep nursing

5:45 awake – 45 minute nap

7 eat dinner

7:30 bath and change into pj’s

8:15 nurse

8:30 cuddle to sleep

10 up, nurse 7 minutes

10:07 asleep

10:30 up, nurse to sleep 10 minutes

2- up, nurse 10 minutes to sleep

5:45 up- nurse to sleep 10 minutes

Gets in bed with mommy

awake at 9

Now this was actually a day when she was already improving

Here is yesterdays:

11:45 noticed signs of tiredness, nursed, checked diaper, read story and laid in crib… fell asleep on own

1- up, 1 hour 15 minute nap

4:30 signs of tiredness, checked diaper and nursed, grandma read story and laid in crib,…. fell asleep on own

5:15 up- 45 minute nap

9- nursed to sleep

12:30 up – nursed to sleep 10 minutes

6:30 up, nursed to sleep in bed with mommy

10 am awake


I think it is a combination of her system adjusting to the solids… and the changes we’ve made while I was reading.

Change 1- We have always tried naps and done the best we can, but she’s an erratic napper. One day it’s 45 minutes, the next it’s 3 hours! The book stresses that daytime sleep drastically affects night time sleep. So I’m trying to improve our naptimes. I took the books advice and at the very first sign of tiredness I begin a routine. Our naptime routine is to check diaper, nurse, read story and lie down. Previously I would have noted the first sign of tiredness and waited a bit more…. then nursed her in preparation for nap. Sometimes she’d fall asleep nursing, sometimes not. This way works better. And there is the added bonus of her putting herself to sleep with music going.

The problem we still have is that she usually only sleeps 45 minutes. Occasionally I squeek a bit more from her but that seems to be her cap. According to the book this is when her cycle comes back to light sleep and I should try to help get her back into deep sleep without her becoming fully awake. Theoretically she’ll learn to do this on her own. The idea is that around her usual wake up time, in our case 45 minutes in, I hover nearby. When she starts to stir I do whatever works to soothe her back to sleep. In our case, this would probably be to slide the binky back into her mouth where it has fallen out during deep sleep.

I have tried this… I always seem to miss my window of opportunity. The one day I hovered from 30 minutes in to an hour she woke up 5 minutes after I left the room again! So we’ll keep working on this one.

Change 2- Starting a bedtime routine. This one is hard for us because our evenings are rarely the same. Steve gets home at different times. He likes to try to do things with her like feed her etc. We’re trying to make a routine. I’m trying to be consistent about getting into PJ’s, a little massage with lotion, a story or two, a lullaby and then getting in bed to nurse to sleep.

Change 3- Introducing a lovey. She suggests getting a little blanket animal that complies with safety and introducing it as a lovey. Kind of choosing one for her until she’s old enough to choose her own. The book said to sleep with it for a few nights so it smells like mommy. Then we nursed with it between us so she associated it with nursing and smelled like milk. Then it would become something to cuddle with when Mommy wasn’t there. Well, this had mixed results. One nap I came in to find her clutching it and I thought “Yay! She loves it!” But pretty much the rest of the time she ignores it. So I’m not sure if I should try a different lovey or sleep/nurse with it more.

Honestly those are as far as I got suggestion wise. Right now the book is just sitting off to the side. I need to keep reading because I’m sure something like teething or a growth spurt will set us back again. But right now I’m happy 🙂

Yay Sleep!

PS I wrote this last Thursday and forgot to hit post…. will have to update again lol

The Sleep Game   Leave a comment

I wanted to call this post the Sleep War… but that seems really hostile. And I don’t want to feel hostile. I want to savor this time I have with my daughter. I love nursing her. I love the closeness and how her body melds to mine. I love her little soft sighs and the noises she makes.

I love how in the middle of the night it seems to be just the two of us cuddled close in the dark. I truly love lying in bed with her in my arms, looking over to see Steve asleep and to think “This is my family and I am so blessed.”

Of course, this is how I feel when LA sleeps more than a few hours at a time. When she is up every one to three hours my thought process goes more like, “LA… what are you doing to me? I are you trying to kill mommy? We will so not be able to do walks tomorrow if you don’t let mommy sleep! Without sleep you won’t like mommy very much.” And other various unpleasantness.

I hold her in a sleepy haze and I don’t enjoy it as much as I want to.

At around 2 months of age LA started sleeping 3-4 hours a night and by 3 months she was going 5-7 hours. As outlined in another post she would go to bed about 9 or 10 and sleep until 1 or 2 then she would wake up for about 15 minutes and then sleep until 4 for another feeding. Around 7 she would wake to get in bed with me and then sleep until 11 or 12.

That was going pretty steady until around her five month mark. Her period of sleep stayed similar but before when she would often skip one of her night feedings she was hitting them all. Also, before I could give her a binky occasionally and convince her to go back to sleep that would not happen now… it was nurse or nothing.

Then last week hit. We started LA on solid foods. Now, everyone has been advising Steve and I to give her a little cereal or solids…. “To make her sleep better.” I had read in a ton of books that this advice wasn’t true…. but I was hoping it was.

So the first night we went to bed and I waited. Well, it didn’t take me long to realize that I would not wait long. LA woke up nearly every 2 hours and demanded to nurse. She seemed a little gassy than usual so I thought that in the excitement she had swallowed more air than usual and was a bit uncomfortable. It has now been a whole week and she is still sleeping in 2-3 hour blocks and she will not be pacified with a binky.

I’m tired. The best sleep I get is when she gets in bed with me around 6 30 and then sleeps until about 9 30…. but since we can’t really have her sleep with us I feel like it would be a bad precedent to do this more than we already do.

I don’t think she’s teething although it is possible that she is experiencing a growth spurt.

My other concern is that I’m not making enough milk so that she needs more at night… this may be irrational but it’s what I’m worried about.

But I think my best guess is that she’s getting to the age where she has opinions about things. Strong opinions. And one of these opinions is that she wants to be close to mommy at night. And while this is flattering and I love it too…. mommy needs sleep.

The other night I tried for about 20 minutes to get her to sleep without nursing because I knew she wasn’t hungry. I tried patting her, singing to her, rubbing her back… at one point she reached down and patted me back as if to say “Oh is this the game we are playing?” I thought I might be able to slightly win this round if I could nurse her to near sleep before laying her down.

So I nursed her until she was almost there and then laid her down. She rolled onto her side like she usually does before settling into sleep. I slid into bed and prayed. It lasted about ten minutes before I heard her cry out…. this round to her!

I’m hoping things go better this week as she adjusts to solid food… but if not I have a plan! (I hope!)

Enjoying our first feeding…

Posted March 9, 2011 by etainl in Life, Mommy-hood, Sickness & Health

Purity   Leave a comment

I have a new joy. One of those things that just makes your heart soar.

When I peek over in the bassinet in the morning or during nap time or her crib when she’s playing and my Little Angel sees me she just bursts into smiles. Her whole body wiggles with joy and she lets out this half laugh, half relief sigh. It is just about as bright to me as a pure ray of sunshine in my soul.

She reached for me the other day in church. First time ever and I thought I could just melt.

What really truly tickles me is that she’s so pure in her emotions. She is happy…. completely. She is heartbroken….completely. She is tired…completely.

I am a grey person. Many of my emotions are in the grey zone. Steve, however is a black and white person. Things are what they are.

I see LA being more like her father so far.

But then again I am a person who has a lot of intensity in my feelings. I feel things deeply and passionately. Steve does too but he doesn’t get giddy and jump around like I do, or sit and feel sad as I have been known to do. He moves on. But LA is more like me in that she wears her emotions right out on her sleeve…. so far.

It’s a combination that makes me smile.

There is just such purity in her…. I see no duplicity. No hiding her feelings. It’s so refreshing and sweet. I wish the whole world could work that way.

Posted February 2, 2011 by etainl in Life, Mommy-hood, New Mom, Sickness & Health