Monday, April 27, 2015

Recapping the Past Week

It's been a long and busy past week...but thankfully, a less stressed one.  Not completely stress-free, but let's be honest, does such a day exist when there is absolutely, positively, no stress?  Only after we die.

Molly is healing nicely.  She's in her normal mood again, cheerful, playful, happy.  Since she isn't a complainer, it's hard to determine when she's in pain or distress; now that we see her so full of pep we realize she was not comfortable with the tumor.  At all.  There was never any whimpering or crying, just lack of energy and no desire to play, though her appetite was never affected.  She is so totally different from Tobey, our first dog, who let us know when he was not feeling well.  I guess the male of the species aren't so different, one creature from another.

My son E, on the other hand (or should I say on the left hand?), had me running from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what in the world was that nasty rash on his hand.  The rash was first detected by his doctor around his left eye.  She said it looked like eczema and gave him medicine for it which took care of the problem.  Then a similar rash took over his left hand.  It looked awful; first it started as a slight rash, then as it got more intense I had him put the medicine from his eye on his hand.  It didn't do much of anything.  Since E has had eczema before, I was able to recognize similarities in this rash, though he'd never gotten it on his hand.  It was always on his elbows or behind his knees.  Still, I thought that's what it looked like, so I went to the pharmacy and got him some Neosporin for eczema.  The itching stopped, but the rash got worse - I mean really bad.  I took him to the doctor (his doctor wasn't in so an associate saw him), who determined it must be a fungus, since the eczema medicine wasn't working.  The doctor honestly admitted he didn't know for sure what it was.  He gave E another cream, and said if it didn't get better we should see a dermatologist.  The cream seemed to work for the first couple of days, but soon after it started making matters worse.  E complained every time he put the on medicine because it burned.  That was not good.

His father showed up that Saturday after not having seen or spoken to his son in two weeks.  All of a sudden he decided he needed to be a dad and take care of the situation because I hadn't done enough.  He wasn't around when the rash started, nor did he know what I'd done, but he started putting on a show, telling me I should have taken him to see a dermatologist from the start, and taking pictures of E's hand to "figure out" what it was.  I was angry and annoyed for hours.  How can one human being disrupt a household the way he does?!  He doesn't fool anyone; we all see through his act, including E.

As I saw the rash not improving, I went ahead and made the appointment with the dermatologist for the following Friday (this past Friday).  Tuesday I got a call from J asking how E was doing, and that he'd been trying to get in touch with the dermatologist to make an appointment for him but was unable to get through.  He claimed he was extremely concerned because the rash looked "dangerous". I told him I'd already made an appointment, and had gotten through to the dermatologist just fine.  Once again, I was convinced he was just putting on a show.  E spoke to his dad on Wednesday because it was his dad's birthday, and once again his father asked for a picture of his hand to see how it was doing.  Friday couldn't come fast enough, as far as I was concerned.  I wanted to get this thing over with once and for all.

Finally the dermatologist was able to see him, and guess what?  It's eczema.  No fungus, no "dangerous condition", just eczema.  The medicines I had weren't strong enough to take care of the problem, so the doctor prescribed a stronger hydrocortisone cream and told us that, just as in the past, this would eventually go away on its own.  In the meantime we would treat it, and there was nothing to worry about.  After the doctor, I took E home and went to do some grocery shopping.  I was at Walmart when J called asking what it was E had because E had told him but he didn't understand.  When I told him it was eczema, he didn't know how to respond.  His first comment was, "But that's just dry skin."  Which of course it isn't, but I just said uh-huh.  Then he asked about the blisters on E's hand.  What blisters?  E didn't have any blisters at any time.  His skin was dry and cracked, but it never blistered.  He claimed there were blisters in the pictures E sent him.  I know there were no blisters, and he was being a drama queen as usual.  Here's the interesting part: we haven't heard from him since.  He didn't show up on Saturday to see his son or take him out, he didn't even call to ask if his hand was better.  Once he realized the show was over, he disappeared.  And then he wonders why his kids don't ever reach out to him.  

The rest of the week went by fine.  E finished his schoolwork a day early, which was great since he had to be at the doctor's on Friday.  He's got straight A's so far, and we are praying that continues, since finals are going to be coming up in the next few weeks.  His hand, by the way, has improved dramatically.  I expect the skin to be back to normal before weeks end.  Thank You Jesus!  Weather-wise, it has been scorching.  Yesterday we were in the 90's.  Thankfully the humidity hasn't been as high as in the summer, but still, it felt like we were in the 100's.  I don't even want to think about what the summer will be like.  Praise God for air conditioning!!!

Saturday I stayed home all day getting the house cleaned up.  We were all suffering the effects of allergy season this week, and I was finally feeling better, so I didn't want to go out and provoke my sinuses to shut down.  Yesterday we went to church, then my daughter and I went to the outlet mall for a little shopping.  There's a Bare Minerals outlet there, and since I had a $20 off coupon I decided to get some concealer.  The small sample I got back in November is finally running out.  I also picked up a neutral lip liner and a gorgeous blue eyeliner.  Then we went to the CCO (Cosmetic Company Outlet) and I picked up a Mac Face And Body foundation for $19.  It usually goes for almost $30 so I was thrilled to get it so cheap.  My daughter got some too.  Can't wait to try it out!  She had gotten a Forever 21 gift certificate back in December for her birthday, so she decided to bring it along and see if she could find something she liked.  She got a really cute handbag that was on sale, so of course she was excited - I thought she'd start dancing in the store!  We also stopped at Teavana for some herbal teas.  She got a ginger coconut tea that is delicious!  We had some last night, and while it doesn't say it's relaxing, I can tell you I slept like a baby.  I could get used to that stuff!

That's my recap for the week.  I'm hoping and praying we have a stress-free week, but if not, it's okay.  God's got my back.  Blessings to everyone!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Things Are Starting To Look Up

Molly had her surgery this morning.  I can't put into words how stressed I was thinking about how she would feel in that pet hospital without us around, but I knew it was necessary, and I left her in God's hands.

We seem to have rushed past springtime in South Florida.  It is as hot as summer, though not as humid.  As a matter of fact, it's been really dry.  So much so, that there have been brush fires popping up all over the place.  Finally, we got some rain yesterday and today.  It was much needed and much appreciated, since it helped put out a bunch of fires, but now the air is heavy with smoke and everything is covered in ashes (including my car, which just got washed two weeks ago).  My nose is all stuffed up, and my daughter is complaining of a sinus headache, which I'm attributing to having to go out in this smoke filled environment.  We're supposed to get rain all week; hopefully it'll clear the air.  So long as we don't get another emergency tornado alert...

Yeah, we got one of those this afternoon, before I had to leave for work.  There was a fairly strong thunderstorm prior to it, and all I could think of was Molly and how terrified she is of thunder.  I hoped she was sleeping through it and didn't have to hear all the noise.

I finally was able to pick her up at 4:30.  My boss was nice about me going; she recently put her own dog down after spending tons of money to treat her for cancer, so she was extremely sympathetic.  I was surprised to find Molly much more alert than I'd expected.  As soon as she saw me she came up to me and lay her head on my lap.  I think that, despite the pain from the surgery, she feels better without that nasty tumor hanging from her belly.  I had a heck of a time getting her in and out of the car, but once she was home she relaxed, has been drinking water and even ate her food.  We let her out to do her business but bring her in quickly; she doesn't need to be smelling all that smoke.  It looks like she's doing well, and we are so thankful for that.  There's one problem though; she has more small tumors.  The vet asked if I wanted them taken off as well, but it would cost an additional $266.  I'm already spending close to $900.  There was no way I could spend anything else.  We are hoping these won't develop like the other one did, but until we get the biopsy results I don't want to make any decisions.  The vet says we should have an answer by Monday, maybe even sooner.  We'll just have to wait and see.

At least she's looking happier now.  That's what we wanted, to see her happy and smiling.  Yes, our dog smiles.  It's the sweetest thing.  Goodnight everyone.  God bless.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Week in Review - It's Been A Difficult Week

I've wanted to post a few times this week, but time kept getting away from me.  How I would love a day when I can do absolutely nothing.  Just sit around watching TV, which I haven't done in awhile.  Some days I miss that.

Molly is scheduled for her surgery tomorrow.  She has been getting steadily worse this week, though you wouldn't know it from her demeanor.  She is still as loving and affectionate as ever, even if she doesn't have the same amount of energy or spunk.

The surgery can't come soon enough.  The tumor on her belly appears infected, and I mean badly infected.  It oozes, and has turned dark, almost green, and it smells awful.  I discussed with my daughter today that I'm concerned it might become gangrenous, which would be devastating.  Even if she comes out of the surgery well, which of course is our hope, there is no guarantee we will have her with us for very long.  We are both convinced this is a cancerous tumor, and more than likely it has spread, though we don't know to what extent.  We have to wait for the surgery, then make a decision as to her future.  It's not something any of us is looking forward to.

My son E had a very busy school week.  He had an English paper and presentation to finish and send in.  He started quadratic formulas in algebra which were complicated to learn.  There was a science quiz and a review portfolio which he just finished today.  Music history is usually just reading, but this week he had a review and critical thinking paper, class discussion, and lab to complete.  Usually he doesn't have to work on the weekends, but this time he worked both yesterday and today, with a Hope assignment still not completed - it should be done by tomorrow.  There's about 8 weeks of school left so of course it gets hectic as we approach the final stretch.

Work was also really busy this week.  Many of the students we tutor took their ACT exams this weekend, so they're done with tutoring.  New students that have been on a waiting list are now starting this week, which meant lots of paperwork had to be completed.  As busy as we were, I had to help with tutoring a few kids.  Two of our teachers were sick - one had kidney surgery and the other had a kidney infection, so both were in the hospital at the same time.  MM arranged their students as best she could, but there simply weren't enough teachers to go around, so I was assigned homework help students.  Since they were all elementary school age it wasn't a problem, but I felt like I would never get my work done.  Thankfully everything fell into place and I think we're back on track, but I have to say it was pretty stressful.

Then Friday, my "day off", started off at 6:00am.  I went to bible study where we finished studying the book Daniel by Beth Moore.  It was such a great study that I'm actually sorry it's over!  Afterwards I came home to do schoolwork with my son, make lunch, then take him to the doctor.  He has a rash on his left hand, a very itchy rash.  When it first appeared I thought it was ant bites.  As more bumps appeared in clusters, I thought it was similar to what he'd had on his eye, so I had him put on the cream they'd given him for his hand.  It did nothing.  It kind of looked like eczema, which he's had before, so I got him eczema cream.  It got worse.  The skin around his thumb was cracking, and it was very painful.  So I took him to his regular doctor, who believes this is a fungus based on the fact that it's only on his hand and the hydrocortisone made it worse.  He prescribed a cream, and antibiotics because of the cracked skin.  I'm keeping an eye on it; it seems better, but if I don't see enough improvement by Tuesday I'm gonna have to take him to see a dermatologist.

As exhausting as my week had been, I was looking forward to cleaning my home on Saturday and then relaxing.  That wasn't meant to be.  My kid's father showed up after two weeks of not seeing or calling any of his children.  He put on a show of concern for E's hand, and suggested yet again that we get rid of Molly because he blames her for E's allergies and anything else that happens to him.  He actually asked if any of us could catch what Molly has.  Since when is cancer contagious?  He finally left without E, because he didn't think E should go out with his hand looking the way it did.  Meanwhile, once again, I was left feeling angry and resentful and bitter, which I absolutely hate feeling, but he brings out the worst in me.  It is so frustrating that he acts like he's so concerned about his kids, then he disappears for a week or two.  It took several hours before I was able to calm down - that, and a trip to Target ;-).  I looked through the tops for clearance items, and found 3 tank tops and a v-neck, each under $10.  I don't usually recommend retail therapy, but I needed to get out of my house and focus on something else.

This week our Sunday school class was challenged to learn Psalm 23 by hard.  And let me tell you, it was hard!  I know bits and pieces of it, but I've never learned it straight through.  For some crazy reason, I thought I'd learn it in the King James Version.  It sounds so beautiful with all the thee's and thou's, but honestly, what was I thinking?!  I actually made it harder on myself.  I was relieved to find out everyone else had a hard time learning it as well ;-).  We are gonna continue working on it this week.  I printed it and put it up on my fridge to help me remember it.

That's my recap for the week.  It has been rough, and I don't think the coming week will be much easier, especially with Molly recovering from surgery.  If you think of her during the day, please say a prayer for our puppy.  We love her dearly, and just want to see her get better.  Thanks y'all.  Goodnight, and God bless.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Week In Review

I don't know what makes people think that being a stay at home mom is leisurely.  Even with 2 adult children and a 15 year old, my days are busy.  Of course, homeschooling makes a difference, but still...

Since I didn't have to work this week (thank you Spring Break!) we were able to keep up with all the school work E had.  It was a good thing too; E had his unit test for algebra, and we needed to do a lot of reviewing.  E does great when he does his lesson quizzes, typically getting 90% and above.  But when it comes time for his unit test, he gets everything jumbled up in his head and he forgets how to do the problems, getting formulas all mixed up.  This time, we reviewed everything from the unit step by step, then he did part 2 of the test first, which is the part that his teacher emails to him and he emails back.  That took longer; there were five questions, but each question had three parts to it, and he had to show all his work.  It was time consuming, but he got a 98%.  Then it came time to do part one which was multiple choice.  He wasn't looking forward to it, but once he sat down he found it only took him 20 minutes and he got 100%.  It made him feel a whole lot better once that was over.

The rest of the week went pretty smoothly.  Yesterday, however, was a stressful and distressing day.

Our dog Molly has been with us for almost four years now.  When we found her in our front yard, she was just over a year old, skinny, filthy, and scared.  We took her in, and she has been the most loving dog we've ever seen.  She is gentle, well behaved, and a great watch dog - she makes plenty of noise whenever someone comes to the door, enough to scare them away!  It's been a joy adding her to our family.

A couple of years ago we noticed a growth on her belly.  It was almost time to get her tags, so we waited to see the vet at the humane society.  She looked at it, and told us it shouldn't be a problem unless it started growing, in which case we should see a vet about it.  After a year we did notice it was getting bigger, so we took her to a local vet (the vet who had seen her before had moved out of the area).  This vet didn't even examine her; he glanced at her belly, said it was probably blood cancer, then proceeded to give us an estimate of $500 - $700 just to remove it, then it would have to be sent to a lab to find out if it really was cancer.  I was shocked and upset at this vet who didn't even take a good look at her or even touch her, so we left.  A short time later the growth popped, sort of like a pimple, and it shrunk.  We figured it was going away, and left it alone.  Over the past year it would grow and pop, grow and pop, and while we kept an eye on it, we didn't think too much of it.

The last few months, though, it has grown very large.  It's now bigger than a golf ball, and it bleeds occasionally.  Molly has been acting perfectly normal as far as her mood and appetite, but we did notice she's also limping from her right hind leg.  The growth and her limp were becoming more and more concerning, so Saturday my daughter and I took her to another vet, one who has been clipping her nails for the last year.  This vet asked lots of questions; she did a better job of examining her, though the growth is large enough that you don't have to get too close to see it.  Her diagnosis was disheartening: the growth doesn't look good.  Yes, it could be benign, but from the description she feels it most likely is cancer.  We have scheduled her surgery for a week from tomorrow, and once the growth is removed it will be biopsied.  She also told us that, while there is a chance Molly is limping simply because she's overweight (a whopping 82 lbs.), there is the possibility that the cancer has spread into her bones.  If that's the case, there is very little that can be done other than chemotherapy, and I've already made it clear to my kids (and they agree with me) that I would never put a dog through chemo.  This kind of treatment is painful, weakening, and dogs don't understand why it's happening.  I wouldn't want my sweet Molly to think she's being punished, which is what chemo must seem like to a dog.  Our prayer is that the tumor is benign, but if it isn't, we will do everything possible to keep Molly comfortable until she can no longer live, or until her time comes on its own.  It's not a pleasant thought at all, and I remember how much we suffered when our dog Tobey became ill and had to be put down, but the thought of treating her for cancer is, in my opinion, inhumane.  Those that wish to do it to their pets have the right to do so, but I just can't.  And it hurts my heart to know that either way she might suffer.  It has brought the mood in our home down low, but we trust that God will do what is right.  He brought her to us, and He will decide when she needs to leave us.

That's pretty much it.  I go back to work tomorrow, and school continues, as does life.  There are always stumbling blocks in the road; hiccups in life that we would prefer to avoid but can't.  The trials of life help make us stronger and remind us Who we need to depend on.  If you think of it, please pray for our Molly to not have cancer.  That would be the best news our vet could give us.  God bless, and good night.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Where Have I Been?

I just realized I haven't blogged in over a week.  What the heck?! I was supposed to be blogging more often, not less!  I've got some catching up to do.

The reason I didn't blog last weekend was because I was barely home.  Saturday was grocery shopping day.  It was also fair/concert day.  One of the local county fairs in South Florida had Danny Gokey and Brandon Heath in concert, and my best friend IV was dying to go.  She's a concert junkie more so than I am - I usually tag along with her, though I have to admit I love the Christian concert scene myself.  She'd gotten some really cheap tickets too: $5 per person, when the regular price is $18.  That's to get into the fair, but both concerts are free once you're inside, so we got to enjoy a really great evening.  The weather was perfect too, neither too hot nor cold.  There was a nice breeze, and a chill was in the air but nothing uncomfortable.  That's a big change from the fair concert last year.  We went to see Matthew West and SonicFlood.  We got a sonic flood all right: it poured like crazy!  We were thankful that didn't repeat itself this year!  Our kids went on a gazillion rides while we sang and worshiped with these two incredible artists and lovers of God.  We got home at midnight but we had a blast.

Then Sunday I got up early for church - barely got any sleep - and my friend DS asked me if I had any plans for the afternoon.  "Yeah," I said, "sleep."  She quickly protested and explained why: she managed to get tickets to see Third Day that evening, and the tickets were $15!  We hadn't planned on going because ticket prices were $45 and up, and the $45 tickets were not very good seats.  I was sure we were getting lousy seats at such a low price, but DS insisted we should go and make a girl's night out of it, her, IV and myself.  We agreed.  I went home, took a 15 minute power nap, then got ready.  When we got there we were all shocked: third row seats!  I couldn't believe it!  None of us could, really.  And who opened for Third Day?  Brandon Heath!  We got to see him two nights in a row!  We were so tired, but so incredibly blessed by the worship, that it didn't matter if I didn't sleep for another two nights!

Monday started our school week again, along with preparations for spring break for work.  There was plenty to do and finish up, so it was a crazy hectic week.  I'm glad to have this week off, so E and I can get caught up on some of his school assignments - not that he's far behind, but especially his PE class has been put on the back burner in an effort to get all his other assignments in on time.  We'll be focusing on that.

Wednesday our Awana group was blessed with a visit from a missionary!  This young lady is 20 years old and attended the school that is affiliated with our church.  She is now a missionary in Argentina, and she talked to the kids about her experience.  They were really interested and asked lots of questions, though the boys were mostly concerned with what kind of food is served in Argentina, LOL!

We had our Good Friday service at 2:00 in the afternoon.  I don't know why we continue to have Good Friday services so early.  Unfortunately, gone are the days when folks had Good Friday off from work.  We had a good amount of people show up, though, and I was thankful.  We had communion, then Pastor gave a lovely sermon based on Isaiah 53:1-6 and how Jesus was misidentified and misunderstood.  He did an awesome job; we left feeling grateful for the sacrifice our Lord and Savior made for us.

Friday morning I got an email from New York and Company, my favorite clothing store.  They were having a huge sale, but we had school to do, and Good Friday service to attend in the afternoon.  I went ahead and took a look online, and found some cardigans on sale for $15.  I have one of their cardigans, and the quality is outstanding, so I ordered 3 more, along with a couple of tank tops ($7 each) and a pretty top ($15).  I don't mind buying from New York and Company because everything I buy from them lasts me a good long time, but I especially like getting stuff cheap!

Today was designated Floor Cleaning Day.  I love our dog Molly, but she is a slobberer and a shedder.  I cleaned the floors recently, and they looked like I hadn't touched them in months.  I got to work mopping the hallway and living room, then looked at the red wall in my living room.

Don't get me wrong, I love the red wall.  It's a great accent wall.  Except for one thing.  My living room faces west.  I get no morning sunlight in this room, and in the afternoon I only get sunlight for a short amount of time while the sun is going down.  With dark brown floors and dark green furniture, the room looked dark.  And I don't like dark.

I'd been thinking about changing the wall for some time, painting it the same color as the rest of the walls to brighten up the room.  There's a red wall in the dining room and another in the family room, but those aren't anywhere near as dark looking because the back of the house faces east, and these rooms get lots of sunlight.  I decided to check and see if I had any paint left; after all, I'd painted the house back in 2010.  Lo and behold, there was a little less than half a can of paint left.  I made up my mind and got to work.  Here is the end result:

That is one bright room!  It's much more cheerful, and that's what I wanted.  Now I'll have to schedule a trip to Kirkland's to get some artwork for that wall.  It'll have to wait, though.  I have to take my car to the dealership on Monday to have it checked out.  The steering wheel is making a rattling sound, and it kind of sticks.  I hate car problems.

That's it for now.  I pray everyone has a blessed Resurrection Day.  He is Risen!  Glory To God!