Wednesday, December 17, 2008

waiting on the phone

this time for a cytology report on fluid taken from her left hind foot, outside toe, which is swollen to about 3 times its normal size and obviously painful, and the lymph node at the back of her left knee. Could be ‘several things’ according to the doctor. Not least of all a tumor. Doesn’t help that we're supposed to leave for Florida (driving, so Honey can come, and looking forward to spending some time just the 3 of us) Friday earlyearly. Like as early as my dad used to wake me up to go fishing. Part of me thinks whatever is wrong that she will feel better once we’re home and she sees family, part is freaking out at the thought that this might be her last time to see them.

Cameron took her in yesterday and they took fluid from the toe and the lymph node. We noticed the lymph swelling Monday night. I have been able to actually fall asleep, but the dreams are horrible. They're exactly like reality, it will be me standing at the sink doing dishes and Cameron standing next to me telling me that the vet said "at her age, its really unlikely that an infection would react that way" when in reality he said "the vet said it's not that uncommon for a lymph node to swell like that" but the dreams are so real that I have to wake him up and ask him which version actually happened. I also made the mistake of watching ‘I Am Legend’ and now I can’t listen to Bob Marley without crying.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Que my mother's heart attack

I was scanning recipes earlier trying to decide what I wanted to make for dinner, and had just about decided on kale-apple soup until I read the directions and the pancetta was discribed as "a little naughty" which is either the sickest thing I've ever heard or the author lives with a vegan. Either way, all I could think was "ahahahahahahahahah I have actual SALT PORK in my fridge"

If my mom ever sees this it'll take me at least 45 minutes to calm her down. Her idea of indulgent fatty horrible dath-inducing food is about maxed out, I admitted to eating a frito last week.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The weekend in naps

Napping on 'bill' my stuffed dog
(I'm truly shocked she hasn't eaten him)
Snoozing on the couch on Saturday
I cannot understand how that's comfortable.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wonderdog & the 9 Month Checkup

This is an old photo, but I love it.

I never really realize how worried I am about things until they're over. Honey goes in every 3 months for chest xrays and a checkup at her oncologist, and every time I get all flipped out. I think I've slept a total of 9 hours this week. Her appointment was Monday but we had a dead battery so it got pushed to today. This had the added advantage of letting my blood pressure increase for another 4 days. The boy took her in without me 'cause I had bunches of stuff to do at work, but he just called and not only did she weigh in at 58 pounds (from an all-time low of 42.5 in the throws of radiation side - effects) but her lungs are STILL CLEAR, and the lump we found on her side is a “fatty mass” which is a pretty gross thought but also way better than anything else it could have been. Her eye, which had started looking particularly nasty within the last few days, isn’t a retinal detachment or bleed, she cut her cornea scratching. They gave her some antibiotics and sent her hone with the ‘all clear’. The only downside is that since radiation she’s become downright mean to other dogs. I think it’s a combination of her knowing she’s not in great shape, her vision loss, and her insane level of spoiled that’s only increased since she got sick (prime example was last night, when we wanted to go to bed but she was laying across ALL our pillows, so instead of moving her, we each found about 6 inches of headspace and just toughed it out). I’ve never been happier than right now with my lumpy fat injured mean dog.

I do have some bad news. One of our neighbors had a dog named Smoke who was a rescue and about as spoiled as Honey. He died this week. He didn’t seem to have any real major health problems, but he was an older dog. He always used to lean against my legs or nuzzle me, and was one of the 2 or 3 dogs Honey would let near me without trying to eat. I’ve been told that one day Honey will die too, and it’s something I can’t think about without tears.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The election, a boring (but awesome) weekend and the Honeydog

Waiting in line to vote

'Huns for Change'

Honey ‘barking for Obama’ and the sunset from my office on election night – the glowing buildings are in Koreatown and the sun is setting in Santa Monica. Wish I had cut out the car park... On election day we woke up at 5:30 to stand in line for two hours (in the rain, then in a room that smelled like fish) to vote. After work, I went to book club (we read Bel Canto – if you haven’t read it, it’s one of my favorites) and we were in someone’s living room with the tv and radio turned off. About 8, I think everyone in the entire complex started screaming at once. Berthenia sent me a text message that said ‘Florida went Blue’ and I guess that cinched it. We broke out the Obama cupcakes. I was really expecting another ordeal – I was really shocked it was over so fast. Cam picked me up and we went to this bar, South, in Santa Monica, to watch the speech. About halfway through, I looked around the bar and it was totally packed, completely silent and about half the people were crying. The first song they played after the speech was ‘it’s a beautiful day’. We went home and watched the news.

(Seriously though, they're going to have to repaint the elks lodge to kill that fish stink)

The sunset from our roof Saturday the weekend was great – all I did was nap and wake up periodically to cook. I made game hens for the first time Saturday night, and Sunday I made pear and ginger preserves with rosemary and burned myself (cause I’m that slick). It was really interesting that the tops of the jars popped in record time after I took them out of the canner. Usually I have to wait for them to cool, all 6 jars made the ‘fop’ sound within the first two minutes.
This morning we were supposed to take Honey to the vet for her 9 month post-radiation xrays, but the car battery was dead. This is like the third time that thing has died. We'll reschedule the xrays as soon as we know what's up with the car.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I can't do a whole post and not even mention Honey, I just can't.

She's totally indifferent to the birds. I thought she would like them, but apparently only long enough to determine that they weren't going to feed her, and she’s now on to bigger and better things, like duck jerky.

Houseplants, and plants that are trying to get in.

We're lucky enough to live on the second floor of a building with several exactly second-floor high leafy trees directly outside. This is great because it mediates the sun (which can be brutal) our living room gets from about 3 pm till sunset, and makes it possible for me to iron my clothes in a bathrobe every morning without also letting everyone on the second floor of the building across the street watch me drink coffee.

I've been keeping my houseplants on a table in the kitchen next to a window that essentially opens out on a big tree. Since there's a 2 foot wide ledge that has some tree cover, I started putting down bird food and a mini-birdbath, since fresh clean water can't be easy to find in mid-Los Angeles. Anyways, a family of wrens found the goodies, built a nest, and for a few months we had these supercute little baby birds hopping around on the ledge. This grew to about 9 wrens that now spend their days in a bird-gang, hopping around in the tree and splashing water on my kitchen windows. I seriously love to them to bits and the sound of birds frolicking has got to be one of the best parts of waking up. The good part is that they're still terrified of humans, so walking into the kitchen generally causes a massive volley of kvetching and some tree - rustling (I was really worried that they would get tame from being so close to our daily life).

The other day I opened the kitchen window to refill their water and realized that at some point over the last few months the fig tree that’s providing most of the birdbath cover has evidently decided that my kitchen is a better environment than its present locale. It appears to be moving in. My first instinct was to air-layer it and make a clone, cause I collect plants like some people collect movie ticket stubs - instead of "oh, remember the night we saw the Dark Knight?" I'm generally more like "remember how we were on that road trip through Texas and I made you park the car along side the courthouse so I could take a cutting of that huge cactus? See - it's rooted and in bloom now!" Which, I'll admit, causes storage problems, but I really really like the idea of having a tree reaching into my kitchen. I feel like the Swiss Family Lindsay or something, so I started misting its leaves with distilled water when I mist my other plants, and aside from Cameron thinking I'm insane, I like it. It's stuff like this that keeps me sane in this city.

What it looked like about 6 months ago

Directly out my kitchen window

Looking up from the birdbath
Birdbath and fig incursion - you can't even see any other buildings.
There's a bird there, its just blurry. I had to be all sneaky-like to get a picture.

Souvenier plum trees from Big Sur

Sarracenia Leucophylla peeking out of its terrarium

Monday, October 13, 2008

The never-ending flu

I got a flu shot on September 22 and I've had the flu since the 23rd. Today (Oct 13) is the first day I haven't had a fever when I woke up. I have no voice, I can't taste or smell anything - yesterday I ate a lemon wedge and when I didnt get any flavor I tossed some balsalmic vinegar on my tongue and nada. My mouth appears to be made of volcanic rock.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It never ends...

Watching Alabama football with Eric, & eating his pompoms.
everything I've canned so far.
The awesome-tastic memory foam bed

We found a lump on Honey's side this norning. I guess maybe a lymph node? I think it's been there for a while, and none of the other ones are swolen. Woo Hoo a trip to the vet is in my future.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Arthritis & Pictures of Honey

Dumbo Hun


Lets hope no other doggies in the LA area get arthritis in the next month, ‘cause all the library’s book on dog arthritis are on my coffee table. Hon has osteoarthritis in both her knees. We started her on Glucosamine and vitamin C, and we’re adding more leafy greens and cold water fish to her diet. Fortunately, I seem to have the only dog around who thinks collards are just as good as a steak. We started with just a grocery store bottle of glucosamine, but I got a bottle of Cosequin on the recommendation of a friend who’s also a vet tech. She’s also on an NSAID but we’ll wean her off as the G/C takes effect. Last time she was on one of those it made her liver enzymes go all wonky. I got her a new memory foam bed, cause the jumping onto our bed isn’t going to work very well much longer. We have some of those doggie stairs but she just ignores them. The bed, however, seems to be a hit. I brought it in this morning and set it on the floor and within 8 seconds and was all curled up, and Cam says she still hasn’t moved 3 hours later. Hopefully that made up for me going to work this morning (I’ve been in bed for 3 days with the flu, and she got to sleep on me for like 96 hours straight. I think she expects it now).

Honey between Eric & Cam


Licking Becca

She was ok with me being sick.

I got ‘retro homemaker fever’ and decided to start canning fruit, and it turned out surprisingly well. So far I’ve done spiced peaches, a spiced blend of peaches, nectarines and plums, and cranberry sauce. I’m really excited about the cranberry sauce, it’s my normal recipe that’s really good anyways, but it’ll have 2 months to mature before we eat it. Like a really long-term marinade. I got the Ball Home Preserving guide and there’s a recipe for BBQ sauce, something that LA seems to be sadly deficient in, and I was going to give that a shot, but the flu had other plans for me. So if anyone needs a Golden Girls synopsis, seasons 1-5 are fresh in my mind.

2 weeks ago, making & canning cranberry sauce.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Honeypicture

I realized yesterday that the wallpaper on my phone was Honey from like 2 months ago, when she didn't have any hair, so I took one of her with Cam, and I think it's pretty cute. Honey's smiling (she just got to ride with to the grocery store) and she's mid-wag, which makes any picture better :)

She has her right eye closed because of the sun. The left eye is the one with the less than perfect tear duct.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

New Honeypics

Some pics of Honey being a love - she quit giving kisses for a while after she had radiation, I think it was too painful and then she just remembered it as being painful, but she's being a kissmonster again which is awesome.


For good measure, my cactus about to bloom...

and a pic of the princess on the couch, just before I left this morning. look at all the fur on her face! I love it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June 18th - 4 months out of radiation and happy as a dog wiht her own couch...

I seriously can’t believe it’s been over a month since I posted here. I guess it was easier at first, when she was feeling different every day, but now it’s just like we have the Hun back, except maybe a little more playful. I keep thinking that maybe she knows she’s got cancer and is living with a little more energy than before, but whenever I share this idea with other people, they tend to tell me that she was probably feeling a little sickly before we noticed something was wrong.

Quick recap in case you’ve just joined us: my guy and I boarded Honey when we went to FL for xmas/Hanukkah. When we dropped her off, she was fine. When we picked her up, she was so sick. We did two rounds of antibiotics and then the vet found a lump in her hard palate. It was a tumor, and we did a month of radiation, then two weeks of the worst side effects ever. I go back and forth between kicking myself for boarding her, and being glad we did because she would have probably had a much more advanced cancer if she hadn’t developed the secondary infection which initially led us to the vet.

Anyways, Honey’s beyond spoiled. The longest period of time she’s been alone since January this year is about 4 hours. She’s also sleeping on her own bed again and best of all, SHE CAN BREATHE OUT OF HER NOSE so I can sleep. It’s fantastic. Last weekend her Zadie was here for father’s day and she played fetch with him for about 3 days straight, and insisted on sleeping on the air mattress with him instead of on her couch (yes, HER couch. A neighbor moved out and gave it to us, and it’s exactly honey-sized). The only lingering problem we seem to be having is her eye – her left eye was in the beam of the radiation and the tear duct is permanently destroyed. We give her cyclosporine eye drops daily, and they’re actually bringing back her ability to produce tears, but it probably won’t ever be 100%. She’s also learned that the eye drops feel good so it’s supereasy to give them to her. Other than that, the radiation side effects cleared up, and although it took almost 3 months out from the last treatment to get there, she can breathe normally again. She’s also gaining back the weight she lost, and we’re actually at the point now where we can’t see her ribs any more. I think that might have had something to do with all those slices of muenster she’s getting as treats…. She’s also got ALL her face hair back, and it’s about half white half brown. We were assured that if it came back at all it would be all white, so I’m taking the salt-and-pepper effect to be a good thing.

And since she was diagnosed in January, and given 2 months, she would have died 3 months ago. Instead, today I get to go home and play fetch and cuddle with her while we lay around like slobs and watch Deadliest Catch.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

YEEEEEEEEEEEAH - best May 7th ever. EVER.

So 7 days of horrible sleep and calling Honey 'tripod' even though she wasn't in the least fussed by the biopsy were finally over at around 2 this afternoon when the vet called and told me the tumor was BENIGN!! Now I guess we just call her ‘lumpy’ or ‘bride of Frankenstein’ due to the scars that look like stitches. Her breathing has changed in the last 2 or 3 days – she’s breathing out of her nose a teensy bit more, which is fantastic ‘cause its heading the right way, but she’s starting to spit the ball out and her sleep is suffering. We have to wait until she’s about half out before prying open her mouth and sticking the ball in. Fortunately, she’s incredibly tolerant. I have a feeling the cuddling and telling her how good she is for 10 minutes helps, too. Nonetheless, Cam is on an expedition to various pet stores looking for a slightly smaller ball that might let her keep her mouth a little more closed, and maybe a bit more comfy.

For those of you who know Honey, she did two very reassuring things in the last 2 days – Sunday she found a plastic water bottle (god knows where) and would have annihilated it if I hadn’t intervened, and this afternoon she and Cameron found a basketball and Cameron text messaged me “Honey has a new basketball to play with. I think it’s gonna be an awesome toy – very sturdy” at 3:57:12 pm today and then at 3:58:35 I got “never mind, shark dog ate it” YAY HONEY!!

Oh, and this weekend we went to a help a friend move (translation: we sat around and drank wine and looked at her boxes) and Honey made sure to completely and thoroughly inspect every one, then requisitioned the couch throw pillows, made a nest, and passed out. The pillows were destined for Goodwill so she even got to take them home.

I’m going home to feed her some leftover Passover macaroons.

Thursday, May 1, 2008


So Honey’s at the vet getting biopsy #3 – left rear foot, between her middle toes. So far I have a perfect record on gut feeling knowledge of malignancy - I thought her sinuses were, and ear was not, so I’m at 100%. This one, I’m not sure about, but if I had to guess I think I’d go with benign, but I’m not sure if that’s what I want or what I honestly feel about it. I’ll update when I find out.

*************1:06 pm

still waiting

*************3:12 pm

Cameron picked her up and she seems ok - we have to wait for lab work to come back. Tehy x-ray'd her lungs and they're still clear, she sounds great, and tear production is UP!! WOO HOO RESTASIS!!! now we'll make it through this last lump and we're home free (hopefully).

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

"If you hadn't told me how sick she was, and sent all those pictures, I wouldn't be able to tell - she's just a little bit greyer around the face"

That’s a direct quote from my friend Mark who hasn’t seen Honey in about a year. She spent yesterday evening doing the ‘someone came to see me two-step’ around his knees and then (very subtly) rubbing her slobbery orange ball all over him, which is how she entices you to play fetch. It was probably the best thing I’ve ever heard. And it dawned on me that she’s acting almost exactly like she did pre-cancer. Our relationship has changed significantly since she got sick – Cameron and I have altered our schedules so that she isn’t alone normally – Sunday we went to a bbq and we couldn’t bring her (the host had dogs that weren’t friendly) and she was alone for 4 hours, which is the longest she’s been alone since November 2007. She’s definitely more attached to us; she would never sleep the whole night on our bed before and now that’s her primary main objective (this will have to change, because we don’t have AC and 100 degrees is way too hot to cuddle, even if she really really wants to). Also she’s more tolerant of letting me do things to her that she would never have allowed previously. I can stick my fingers in her mouth now, and she doesn’t mind – when that was something that drove her batty before cancer. Last night I even pried open her mouth and stuck a ball in, and she just let me. It was great. It’s like she knows that whatever we’re doing to her, uncomfortable as it might be, is going to make her feel better. She comes to us now and asks to be scratched when her face or eyes itch, when last year she would have just gone at her face with her claws, and her eye drops must feel great because she just holds still and lets me tilt her head and pull her eyes open, then when its done she wags her tail and gives me kisses. Two weeks ago she stood still and let us remove the stitches that were inside her ear from biopsy #2. This dog has had chronic ear infections all her life, and her ears are probably the most sensitive place on her body, and she just stood in the kitchen and let me grope around in there with mini scissors and tweezers. Needless to say she got some serious treats after, but I was still stoked. Saturday we took Hon to Larchmont, this snotty little shopping district near our house and got her pinkberry (its essentially frozen yogurt, and its awesome) from Becca. She wore her new ‘cancer survivor’ bandana, and made lots of friends who were also cancer survivors.

UMMMM, is that for me?

Honey loves her some blueberries

I love that she closesher eyes when she really likes what shes eating.

OMG its so good


Monday, April 21, 2008


and i have no idea how to rotate this video.

New pictures, hairy face.

Honey sleeping on her daddy
She didn't know what to do - pay attention to the seder plate, the webcam, or the phone
(that sounded like cameron's parents).

Honey in her new KamSew Unique Bandana! They were really fantastic - the only place I could find on the web that had custom doggie bandanas, and they even called me to ask if I'd like her name added to the design.

The princessdog way of descending stairs

Us making tuna melts.

She ripped the ball out of the package and refused to let go of it till we were home.

After she healed, before the hair started growing back in.
Honey and I spent our weekend reading and cuddling. We're down to a 1/4 of a prednisone every other day so that's fantastic - she's totally off the painkillers and last night even slept in her own bed and then the couch (!!!). To tell the truth, it freaked us out a little. But just a little.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Cancer Survivor

Looks like we’re out of the woods depression-wise! We’ve been weaning off pred for about a week now and no bad side effects like lethargy or excessive sleeping. Also, Cameron went to New York for three days and she was ok with it (!!!) which is new and exciting. When she was doing radiation she used to freak out if it got past 9 or 10 pm and cam wasn’t home yet – nights he worked were a real joy, and she’s do the ‘where’s daddy’ dance – pacing, whining, the odd howl, heavy panting, sometimes shaking – just a total freak out ‘oh god where is he’ situation. Nothing I did could calm her down, but we dropped him off at the airport and she wasn’t exactly thrilled, there was some watching out the window and then for the first day she would pull me towards the parking lot whenever we went for a walk, looking for him near the car, but last night she even slept in her own bed all night, which is unfreakingheardof. I worked from home (LOVE that my job lets me do that) Wednesday and Thursday and Cameron’s plane already landed, he’ll probably be home in like 35 minutes. Wish I could be there to see the festival of daddy has returned Honey’s going to throw when she sees him.

Her hair is almost grown in now, I’ll take some pictures tonight of the white-faced Hon. The coolest part, though, is that some of the hair is coming back in BROWN and we were assured that it would be completely white if it came back at all. Wunderdog! She also looks lovely in her new ‘cancer survivor’ bandana – which she is now, a bona fide cancer survivor. I think I even saw her breathing out of her nose a little over the last few days, and she seems to have more of a sense of smell. The only variable that’s still really up in the air is the tumor shrinkage – radiation kills the cells when they try to replicate, so they won’t die until they try and grow, so it can take up to 3 months for the tumor to shrink all that it’s going to. We finished on February 29th so today is April 18th – we have 40 days left until we can reasonable assume it’s as small as it’s going to get. The catch is this – if it doesn’t shrink enough for her to breathe out of her nose, we may have to have it debulked, which is a surgery where they would go in and remove the majority of the tumor so she could have a clear airway. The other thing that would go wrong is if it shrinks TOO much, because it metastasized through the roof of her mouth (that means it ate the bone that separates her mouth from her sinuses – her hard palate) so if it goes away to the point where there’s no tumor to form this barrier, she will have to have surgery to create one and keep her sinuses free of food / other stuff in her mouth. Please keep your fingers crossed for perfect shrinkage.

In new-place news, it’s awesome but our furniture doesn’t fit and Cameron still hates my grey Formica table, but it looks WAY too much like an airstream to throw it away. We’re starting to actually get some stuff settled and decorated decently, but ultimate ‘our house is perfect ness’ is a long way off. However, it is starting to look like a nursery, which I LOVE!

Friday, April 4, 2008

New digs, doggiedepression and indoor fetch.

We’re finally all moved in. our new place has less closet space and less wall space, so where to put the desk / table is a problem, but we’re working on it. Honey figured out what was up pretty quick and hasn’t tried to walk to the old apartment at all. I can’t tell if her nose is improving or not, I know the vet said up to 3 months for it to shrink, and we finished the 29th of Feb., but I really wish it would totally go away, and fast. She’s snoring a lot more now, so maybe that means she’s getting some sir moving through her nose, but I’m not sure. She still makes the gasping noises and doesn’t like her lip prop. But… she’s starting to re-grow the hair on her face! It’s white and the skin is a really really dark black, so it’s pretty noticeable.

The one bad thing is that she got really lethargic when we started weaning her off prednisone, so we took her in to get her 3 1 month checkup early and they upped her dose again, saying she was getting depressed. They said it was pretty normal, with the moving and the drug levels decreasing but I was still pretty upset. We’re trying to get into a routine asap so she feels more comfortable. We also had some people over which she loves. After we upped her pred she seemed to get over it and is doing honeystuff like destroying boxes and being totally obsessed with a ball that rolled under the bed. I hope we can wean her off it soon – I know she needs to gain weight (she’s 47.5) but I hate to keep her medicated.

In other news, we can now play actual real fetch in the house – which is incredible and sooo awesome. And the windows are really fantastic, she loved barking out of them. I set up a bird bath and a hummingbird feeder, but I think so far no dice, which is weird because I’ve seen hummingbirds checking the feeder out, but that was over a 2 day span, then nothing. I wonder if the feeder is broken…

I took some cool pics of honey playing last night and ill post them later – left my camera at home, but in the meantime check out this vintage Hon at my parents house, Christmastime 2004ish. the top pic is her napping on the couch, the bottom is her 'tasting' the lawn ornament she stole from somehwere in my my parents neighborhood...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Biopsy, New Apartment and Nice Windows.

The biopsy report on Honey’s ear came back yesterday, and the lump is benign! We’re thrilled. She’s also back to her normal self and being weaned off the pred and painkillers. We had to up her dose of tramadol again after the ear biopsy but it seems like she’s not in pain any more so we can start to back it off again. We’re also moving to a one bedroom on the second floor, a tiny one but at least we get 2 rooms now J we are going to have to get Honey a second bed for the living room. She’s not thrilled about the massive packing up of stuff, and every time Cameron takes an armload of stuff upstairs she greets him like he’s been gone for a week or so. It’s strange; we’ll have more space but less room. Not sure if I’ve figured that out or not yet, but hopefully it’ll work. Plus, the windows are all really big and perfectly Honey-sized, she doesn’t even have to lift her head to look outside and bark at the people walking by on her sidewalk (the NERVE). I have a birdbath to put on one of the windowsill so she can lay on her bed (the couch when we get one) and watch the wrens splash around. It also has 10 foot ceilings and wood floors. I have big plans for a wine and cheese party as soon as we get our stuff settled.