Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Dog's Life

Kirby
In October we found another lump on Kirby's belly, very near the site of the original tumor. We kept a close eye on it, and it began to change so on November 14th I took him back in to the vet. He performed a needle biopsy on the lump, and to no one's surprise it tested positive for mast cell cancer. This is very dismaying as it has only been three months since the last tumors were removed. The vet said that he can remove it, and in fact it would be a little easier than the last one as it is over a bit from his private parts. But he said we have to face the reality that it can and will come back. How many surgeries do we want to put him through? How many surgeries do we want to put ourselves through, not to mention the expense? This type of cancer is incurable, and I honestly don't think the chemotherapy would have made a difference so I am glad we didn't put him through that.

After some discussion, we decided to try putting him on prednisone in addition to the Benadryl and Pepcid AC that he currently takes. The hope is that the prednisone will keep the cancer cells from irritating Kirby to the point that he licks the tumor and forces it into ulcerating like it did last time. This drug can make dogs very hungry and thirsty, and some dogs urinate in the house because they can't control their bladders. We started with a dosage of three pills at a time once a day, which would be modified if he ended up peeing all over the place.

Fortunately, he has tolerated the medicine well. He is drinking and eating more, and also pants a lot. That, too, is a known side effect. Unfortunately, the tumor continued to grow a bit. His prescription was going to run out on the 23rd, the day we were leaving for Washington, DC to be with our kids for Thanksgiving. So I called the vet again to see about refilling the prednisone. He said that drug should have caused the tumor to shrink some, and that it is a bad sign that it grew even while he was on the medication. But I feel it is great that the tumor didn't go crazy in a 48 hour time period like the last one did, so he agreed to renew the prescription to get us through the seven days we would be gone.

The dog sitter called us the night of the 23rd, and she felt the tumor had grown more and was very red. She wanted to let me know that she had called the vet, and he had her adjust the timing of the pills, giving him one in the morning and two at dinner, along with an additional Benadryl mid-afternoon. She felt we would want to know. None of us slept well that night. Jim was even looking into flights to head back home on Thanksgiving Day in case Kirby needed to be hospitalized - or worse. But when I called the sitter the next morning, she was pleased with the change as the tumor didn't look nearly as red as before. She kept him on the new regimen while we were gone, and fortunately that worked out okay.

I honestly did not know if I would get to see Kirby again. I thought for sure based on how the last tumor went that it would ulcerate while we were away, and we would be faced with tough decisions from far away. It was a horrible feeling, and cast a damper on our visit with the kids. The five of us had not been together since last Christmas, so it is a shame that we had this hanging over all of us. But in the end it all worked out and we will just take each day as it comes. For now he is eating and sleeping well, and still wants to go on his daily walks. I don't know how much more time he has to be with us, but I intend to enjoy each and every day we get.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

How Does Your Garden Glow?

lighting the way to the Climatron
Beginning in 2013, the Missouri Botanical Garden has offered patrons the opportunity to see the garden in a different light, so to speak, by illuminating the garden. As opposed to the other holiday displays around town, this one allows you to walk through the lights where you have the opportunity to look as long as you like without having cars behind you forcing you to move along. Each year the exhibit has grown, and this year over 1 million LED lights shine through the garden.

As one of the corporate sponsors of the garden, our company was invited to a special preview night on November 16th. After grabbing something to eat and drink in the Ridgeway Center, we made our way outside. The temperature was in the low 60's, which is extremely unusual for St. Louis in mid-November. I expected the place to be packed as it has been the other three years we have attended this event. However, that was not the case, surprisingly. Maybe the early date threw people off. It was great for us as we could take our time with each display, and even experience the photo op locations, which I imagine will be packed once the Garden Glow is open to the public beginning tonight.

If you haven't had the opportunity to visit the Garden Glow, I highly recommend it. It's a totally different way to experience one of my favorite places in St. Louis.

Garden Glow

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Full Super Moon Weekend

Last weekend was super busy. Friday night Jim and I grabbed dinner and then headed to the mall to return an item I had purchased online. Not only was the t-shirt a bit snug, you could see right through it. Not quite the look I was going for, trust me. Jim had a $20 off coupon at the same store, so between my return and his coupon he was able to snag a new pair of jeans for around twenty bucks. Nice!

on stage at the Muny
Saturday morning my friend picked me up at 10:00 and we went to the Garage Sale being held at the Muny in Forest Park. Props, sets, clothes, shoes - you name it were for sale. They were cleaning house for only the second time in their 97 year history. The sale was from 9-2, and I heard that people were standing in line at 5:30 a.m. We were not intending to purchase anything, but thought it would be a fun photo op. And it certainly was that and more. While standing on the stage looking out at all the seats, everything seemed a lot smaller than it does when you are sitting in the audience watching a performance. I always wanted to appear onstage at the Muny, and now I have. Cross that off the bucket list - haha. An older man started talking to us about how he had worked at the Muny for 40 years designing sets. Wow! I even ran into Katie's high school journalism teacher, and we had a nice chat. He had so many wonderful things to say about her even after all these years. I wish I had recorded it so that if she is ever feeling down she could listen to it. Proud momma moment, for sure.
Muny garage sale
From there we went to the Art Museum to have lunch at the Panorama Restaurant. Neither of us had eaten there before, and the food was good with an even better view of Forest Park. While the fall colors in the St. Louis area have been pretty lackluster, things were looking pretty in Forest Park that day.

Forest Park
After lunch we went to the Gretchen Brigham Gallery inside Union Ave. Christian Church for the opening reception of our latest Women in Focus photography show. The gallery space is beautiful, and although the reception was not that well attended, it is always fun to get together with these lovely ladies.

Women in Focus Inspiration show opening

Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
Early Sunday morning I drug Jim out of the house to go to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery to take pictures. I was thinking the graves would be decorated with flags, and it wasn't until we got there and saw none that I realized that would be Memorial Day as opposed to Veteran's Day. No matter, it is always a lovely, peaceful place for a drive and the deer are always accommodating. It was touching to see an older man sitting on a low chair next to a gravestone with a woman's name on it, despite the 31 degree weather. Was that his wife buried there? His daughter? We wanted to talk to him, but were hesitant to disturb his solitude.

deer in Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery
That afternoon I went to the Holiday Walk in Webster Groves with a friend. It was a beautiful day, and lots of people were out. I was able to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts, so that felt pretty good. In the evening Jim and I saw Mothers & Sons in the Studio of the Repertory Theatre. It is a small venue, and the plays down there are always thought provoking. This was no exception. Came home to enjoy a Super Moon finish to a pretty super weekend.

Super Moon