Thursday, January 21, 2010

CK and Me

I have been having a really rough week. I will spare you the details but I was pleasantly surprised this afternoon to get an email about one of my layouts being featured on CK and Me. Follow the link to that feature...

It's been awhile...

Life has been so busy. We lost our sweet Zoee two weeks ago. That was a really tough thing for our family. We really miss her. When I come in the door and I don't have her waiting for me right there, excited to see me and her chain jingle-jangling...when we are cooking and she's not right at our feet waiting for either things that drop or for us to throw her some scraps...when I get up in the morning and we don't follow our everyday routine of going outside together and then immediately feeding her (cuz if you don't feed her immediately she lets you know) many things we are all missing about our sweet Zoee.

I have opened the Camera Art studio in Hillsboro and we had the Portland Bridal Show last weekend. Wow! What an event that was! It was my first time setting up the display and having to figure out how to do that. It comes with about 6 panels and you only need 4 to set up our 10 foot booth. I discovered after setting it up the night before that I grabbed the wrong pieces that fit the 10 foot booth size. With the amount of time we had left, we decided to take the one piece off the end, take it home and do surgery on it. We got done at about 9pm, an hour before our time was up!

We are beginning to book weddings for the 2010 summer season and I am excited about the brides and grooms that we will be capturing the memories for on their special day. I hope it is a busy wedding season for us.

Well, that's it for now. Back to work.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas is over...

I am happy to have had a nice Christmas with my family this year but I am thankful now that it is over. I hope to get a few things done this coming week...I'm taking the week off from work so I can get some "work" done. I hope to take apart the greenhouse from my parents old place and put it back together at my house. I also hope that I can get some scrapbooking in. There are a few other things I would like to do too. I think I might make a list of everything I want to do and then I can prioritize better. Anyway, happy that Christmas is over and we can look forward to the New Year now. Hopefully, 2010 will bring good things.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

More on Zoee

The options were 20 weeks of chemotherapy in order to extend Zoee's life about a year, possibly two or Prednisone which would put her lymphoma in remission for about 4 to 6 months, possibly up to 8 months. We decided to go with the Prednisone treatment. We can control her pain with some pain medication and she will feel pretty good, unlike if she went through chemotherapy. I felt like this was the right thing to do. We are just going to baby her and love her up in the time we have left with her. She has been on the treatment for about 5 days now and she is doing really well. She seems to feel pretty good and can move around pretty well. This will give us some more time with her and she will feel pretty good during that time.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Sad Day for Our Family

I noticed my dog, Zoee, seemed to be having a hard time moving around and looked quite sad when I got back from my Washington DC trip last night. I was quite concerned this morning when she didn't hear me get up and begin scratching at my son's door to let her out so she could get to me - the everyday routine. I went looking for her in my son's room. I opened the door and she was lying on the bed but didn't even lift her head to show interest in coming with me. I called her and she came. She was moving even more labored this morning. I was quite worried after she showed no interest in food. By the afternoon, she hadn't moved from the spot where she laid down after I brought her inside this morning. I decided to take her on an errand with me to Home Depot to see if that perked her up. I was thinking maybe she was depressed. When she sat on the passenger seat, I could see that the glands around her nipples were huge and hard and the skin was irritated. I really thought I had figured out what was wrong. She had a skin infection in the past and I thought for sure that this was it. I turned around immediately and returned home. I had Scotty take Zoee to the vet for me.

Not long after he got there I got a text from him. He said they think Zoee has lymphoma. And he said all her lymph nodes throughout her body are huge and affected. I was in shock. She is only about 8 years old. I figured we had a number of more years with her. It appears that she is probably in about stage 3 of lymphoma where all her glands are affected. It could actually be even further along than that but we would only know if we did more testing. The hard part is that chemotherapy and other treatments would only be used to extend her life a little longer and there are no guarantees on how long she would have. The doctor said maybe a year, maybe two if you are lucky but then again it could be less. It is not about curing the cancer. It is about extending her life so we can have more time with her. I can't even imagine putting her through chemotherapy in order to spend more time with her. Some people may consider that humane but I don't. She doesn't have a way of telling me, "Yes, I want to go through all that excrutiating pain and fatique and nausea and fatigue, etc., etc. in order to spend a little more time with you". Since she can't tell me what she wants, I have to make a decision and I just can't put her through that. Quality of life is what it's about. I don't want to see her in pain. It is important that I still see her wag her tail when I tell her I love her and to see her doggie smile. Tonight she actually worked very hard to get up from her bed when she heard my car keys jangling. She met me at the door and gave me that look, the one where she begs me with her eyes to take her. She had a bit of a bounce in her step and I knew she felt well enough to go on a ride. We got our pizza take-out and when we got home she waited in the kitchen for her pizza crusts just like she always does. She actually found one of her Kong balls in the house too and wanted to fetch it a couple of times - a bit slower than usual but she did it.

It appears that we are going to go through some hard times coming up here very soon. I am going to miss her terribly. She has been one of those dogs that you curse because she tries to go on walkabouts every chance she can (sneaking away from the house if you are not watching) and she has anxiety attacks when you take her in the car and she walks us when we try to take her for a walk, but in our home she is at her best. She loves her family always has a smile on her face. She has all her own little quirky things she does which makes her Zoee and I love her for everyone of those.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Leaving for Washington DC

I don't travel much. It's too difficult to take Jovanna with me or to leave her with someone else. I was offered the opportunity by MESD to go to the National Federation of Families Conference in Washington DC and I decided to take Jovanna with me and let her go through the Youth Track at the conference. We leave tomorrow morning. I have not been to a Federation of Families Conference yet but I understand it is a really inspirational thing. I am told it will revive my spirits and renew my inspiration to continue the battle for better care and respect for my family and other families raising children with special needs. I need that right now. Sometimes the challenge of raising Jovanna really begins to weigh heavy on me and right now, as she is becoming a teen and add that with the already challenging behaviors of Autism Spectrum/Aspergers and it just becomes too much on some days. I work day and night to help change the system and support other families raising special children and at times it feels like we are just stuck, there aren't any options, there isn't enough of me to go around. Hopefully, I will experience a renewed sense of hope and inspiration over the next few days and hopefully, Jovanna will be able to hold herself together enough that I can attend the adult conference sessions while she participates in the Youth Track.

She made a poster for the conference poster contest a few months ago and we submitted it. The focus of the contest was "Childrens mental health matters to us, what matters to you?". She did this really cute poster with several children of all different colors (some really interesting colors) and some were boys and some were girls and wrote the theme on the poster. I guess we will find out while we are there how she did. She is excited and is sure she is going to win. I hope she can handle the disappointment if she doesn't. But it will be exciting to see her work there. We leave Thursday at 12:30pm with a stop in Fort Worth, TX and then off to D.C. All day on a plane...with Jovanna... Wish me luck!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I am thankful for...

As Thanksgiving is approaching, I am thinking about what I am thankful for. Sometimes my life seems to go so fast and I am so busy and I have many challenges around raising my special needs child that I can at times feel like I don't have much to be thankful for. But when I really force myself to think about what, if anything, there is for me to be thankful for, I can identify some things.

I am thankful that my dad is still with us. He has battled sickness for more than two years now, so close to death so many times and he is still hanging in and still with us. We don't know how much time we have left with him and it will be devastating for our family when he is no longer here, but I am thankful that he is still with us.

I am thankful that I have a home to call my own. Almost five years ago, I had to sell my home and get rid of the lifestyle I had become accustomed to in order to take care of my daughter who was in serious crisis. It was an incredibly painful thing for me. After owning a home for more than 10 years, I had to become a renter. For some, this is not a big thing. But for me, it was. This last summer, all the stars lined up for a short time and my window of opportunity was there. I was able to buy and move into my new home on July 1. Sure, it's a fixer-upper with a lot more work to be done. But it's mine. I am thankful to have a home to call my own.

I am thankful that my son, Scotty, is doing well. He has grown and matured so much over the last couple of years and he is doing well. He got laid off from his job about a month or so ago and he has decided to go to school and get his Associates in the Welding Program at PCC. I am thrilled to see him considering a step like this and excited to see what new journey this will take him on. I am thankful that Scotty is growing, maturing and a fine young man.

I am thankful to have a man that loves me and that I love back. Jose is perfectly suited for me in every way and makes me feel fulfilled. After spending so many years in a miserable relationship, I am thankful to have found this wonderful man.