Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Stella Update

For any of you who don't see my Facebook posts, I thought I'd update a bit about Stella. She has been in the hospital since last Thursday with some sort of infection in her liver and gallbladder as well as esophageal problems. Because I'm still edgy and stressed and don't feel like making myself cry againsomemore, I'm going to be super lazy and just cut and paste from Facebook. Please don't be offended, I'll get back to real blogs once she starts recovering and I can think about things without losing it...

April 30: Stella is back in the hospital today. Blood work indicated possible liver damage so she will have an ultrasound tomorrow morning. Since she hasn't been able to keep down much food or water the past few days, she's staying there overnight on IV fluids. Your positive thoughts are deeply appreciated and if you've got any extra cash laying around I'd be happy to take that off your hands!

May 2: Stella is being transferred to an emergency clinic today as her condition is not improving. 

May 3: Yesterday Stella was transferred to the emergency clinic. She will be seen by the internist early Monday morning and in the meantime they're keeping her comfortable and hydrated. This morning they called to update me on her overnight progress - while they were sure to let me know she isn't dramatically improved, they were very pleased with her demeanor this morning and that she had been able to keep some food down finally!

May 4: Stella met with the Internal Medicine Specialist today and had another ultrasound performed. It looks like she may have two infections - one in her gallbladder and one in her kidney - and the doctors are unsure as of now whether or not the infections are related or not. We're waiting on results from blood work and urine cultures and hopefully will know soon just what has infected this poor pup.

Meanwhile, Stella is brave and strong and everyone at the clinic assures me she is being her usual well-behaved and sweet self! 

May 6: Stella is going in for a gallbladder removal now and will have a feeding tube inserted as well. Your prayers and positivity are very much appreciated as we wait for news from the surgeon!! Update: The surgery went well and she is resting comfortably. Fingers and toes crossed she is finally on her way to recovery.

If you are able to help, any donations you can make would really mean the world - #SaveStella! So far her bill is at $9500 and that's not including the almost $8000 we already spent on her knees. And if you would help me spread the word to your friends and family it would be so deeply appreciated!! 

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Stella's TPLO Adventure Part 3

2.5 weeks post-surgery: Well, poor Stella was back in the vets office last night.

She had her staples taken out Saturday morning, it was traumatic - lots of shivering, big eyes, but she was a champ and didn't squirm or cry. We drove through McDonalds on the way home for some french fries - one of her favorite treats - and then she took a very long nap. That night I gave her some rice with her kibble. She gulped it down but then puked it back up a few minutes later, it was hardly even chewed so I didn't think much of it, just figured she had eaten too fast. I gave her some water and left her a little bit of plain rice which she never ate.

Sunday she ate and kept down some kibble mixed with canned food and seemed totally normal other than her poop being a little sickly looking - kinda green/yellow and slimy, nothing too out of the ordinary for a dog with an upset tummy the night before. Monday however, she didn't eat any of her food, just a few treats and some chunks of bread from my lunch. That night she woke me up around three gag/coughing up water and spit all over the carpet. Again, not totally out of the usual for her. She's not a big fan of dog food and often goes a day or more without eating in hopes of breaking me and scoring some people food, and if she goes too long without eating she'll spit up water and stomach juices. But Tuesday afternoon I gave her some canned food again which she loved. Then fifteen or so minutes after eating, she drank some water and puked everything onto the carpet. I cleaned her up and took her out back in case she had any more to spit up. When she peed, I noticed her urine was very dark, almost an orange/brown color and that got me a little nervous.

I called the vets office to ask their advice and they said to go ahead and bring her in, just in case. They checked her vitals, listened to her eating/puking history and the vet gave her an anti-nausea injection and sent us home with a few meds. We've got Sucralfate that dissolves in water to a chalky, cloudy mix that she takes two hours before any food. The vet says this is to coat her GI tract. Then we have an antacid, Famotadine, and a pain killer. She had been taking Metacam for the pain in her leg but it apparently commonly causes GI issues so I had stopped that one on Monday and the vet told me not to resume. Instead she gave us Tramadol in case Stella is still experiencing pain in her leg, in addition to any pain she may be feeling from her tummy.

She told me to give it a day and if Stella's not feeling better by this afternoon to come back in for some blood work and possibly an x-ray. I'm trying to stay calm, but we may be looking at ulcers or liver problems which is totally terrifying. I decided to stay home from my classes today to keep an eye on Stella, and also because this two-hour gap between meds and food is really not compatible with my classe schedule. So far today she's had a little water, a very little canned food with rice and no puking. She pooped for the first time since Sunday, it was very runny but normal colored, and her urine looked less orange, more dark yellow today so I am hopeful this is a stomach bug and she's on the mend! My fingers are permanently crossed for the day, this poor pup has been through so much already I don't want her to have to deal with any other major injuries or illness!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

April 2015 Birchbox - Mad Men

Birchbox is probably my favorite subscription box of all. It's only $10 a month, less if you pay for multiple months at a time and they frequently have special offers to either reduce the cost or earn more points (points = money to spend in their shop). For that $10 you get 5 or 6 sample size products, things like makeup, hair care, cleansers, and more. I consistently get great boxes and I was so pleased with this months box that I just had to share it!

In recent months, Birchbox has started letting subscribers choose one of their samples or choose a curated box (or do neither and be surprised). I really love the sample choice, I enjoy having a little control and a little surprise mixed together. This was the first month that I actually chose one of the curated boxes. There were two to choose from, both Mad Men themed - I guess the show is ending? I've never watched it so I had no idea what to expect in the boxes and was planning on choosing an eyeshadow trio as my sample choice. Then I saw the boxes! Guys, the Mad Men New York box was made for me! Check it out:

How cute is that print? Pink and purple are two of my favorite colors and I really dig the mod floral motif.

Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream in Blueberry | Full Size $20, Sample $2.93
I love having travel sized toiletries around to grab when I'm packing for trips and this is the first small shave cream I've received. I'll be visiting my sister and her family this summer and this is definitely coming with me.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Clear Brow Gel | Full Size $22, Sample Size $6.64
I have been wanting to try this forever! I've read rave reviews and have been hoping every month for ages that it might show up in a sub box. I finally got lucky!

Liz Earle Eyebright Soothing Eye Lotion | Full Size $25, Sample Size $8.33
I received a Liz Earle face scrub in a previous box and loved it so I'm excited for a chance to try something new from this brand. And let's be honest, who doesn't need a nice eye soother now and again?

Beauty Protector Protect & Oil | Full Size $25.95, Sample Size ???
This is hands down my favorite product in this box, maybe my favorite product I've received from Birchbox, ever! I actually chose it as my sample in my March box and was thrilled to be able to snap up another. This oil smells like heaven and tames my frizz so well. I use it 2 or 3 times a week and have only used about half of March's sample so a little goes a long way.

Cargo Swimmables Water Resistant Blush in Los Cabos | Full Size $26, Sample Size $7.54
I received this exact blush in my May 2013 box and was perfectly happy to get another. I'm not a big blush girl but I do wear it from time to time, like when I'm in a show, and this is a great corally peachy color for me. I tried to swatch it for you:

While water resistant blush might not seem like a thing I need in my life, it actually is nice. Since working at Disney, my body has learned to sweat the instant I start dancing so it's nice to have stage makeup that can hold it's own.

What an awesome box right?! I can't give a good estimate of the value of the Beauty Protector sample as the mL are not listed, but even without accounting for that I received more than $25 worth of samples for only $10. Not too shabby!

Birchbox partnered with Rifle Paper Co. this month and the box they designed was just so beautiful! (I was disappointed the Mad Men themed box was different, even though it was pretty too.) Since I wasn't going to receive that Rifle Paper Co. box, I bought the tote bag they designed which is just too darling!


Doesn't that just make your heart sing?! If I've piqued your interest in Birchbox now, I encourage you to try them out! 

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Stella's TPLO Adventure Part 2

Today we're 10 days post-surgery and I just noticed the best sign: Stella is scratching herself with her healing leg! You're like 'what?' In the past week that she's been home, she has hardly put any weight on that leg, won't let me touch it or look at it, and basically hasn't moved it more than totally necessary. So the fact that she's using it today is a great sign that she's on her way to recovery.

Another sign: she's completely fed up with her confinement, her e-collar, and her stitches. This afternoon she cried for 15 full minutes because I refused to let her pull out the stitches.

"It's a routine procedure Mom, I know what I'm doing"

We'll go back to the vet this weekend and if he says all is going well, the stitches will come out. With the last leg, this was when things got really frustrating for Stella. The fur growing back through the scar or something must have really itched because I was for ever catching her biting at her incision. So we're not going to be done with the e-collar for a bit, but once we are, we're practically home free!

Oh and yes, she did have a bladder infection. It's all cleared up now, thank goodness. I guess if she had to get an infection, I'm glad it happened when she was already on antibiotics and pain meds... less discomfort for her (and fewer expenses for me).

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Stella's TPLO Adventure Part 1

Oh, hello! Guess I let this blog fall by the wayside a bit. Life got simultaneously busy and dull and I really felt like I didn’t have anything worth writing for the past few months. I’ve kind of missed it though, so here I am again!

During the holidays, my dog Stella tore the ACL in her right knee. The surgery was waaaay out of my price range so I did my best to lower her activity level until I could find a way to pay for it. Then in January, she tore the left ACL and couldn’t walk at all. My poor baby! Lucky for us, my parents are wonderfully kind and generous and gave me the money for Stella’s surgeries. She had the right leg repaired in January and the left leg this past weekend.

The surgery is called TPLO, or Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy. The surgeon breaks the tibia, turns the proximal, or top, piece around, and screws in a metal plate to reattach the pieces. This changes the knee joint angle and negates the need for an ACL (or technically CCL in dogs). The recovery can be long and frustrating, have you ever told your dog not to walk for days? In preparing for Stella’s first surgery I found a few websites and blogs that gave me a good idea of what to expect plus a sense of security seeing so many success stories. I intended to blog about Stella’s journey, my way to give back or contribute, but got sidetracked somehow. So now that we’re going through it again, I thought I’d blog my way through this second surgery. She survived the first one with grace and I’m hoping this second one will be even easier. Last time, she had a broken leg and an injured leg, now she’s got a broken leg and a leg that’s three months post-op.

So, for those of you who may be interested, here is Stella’s TPLO adventure… (Squeamish readers beware, discussion of bowel movements included)

Stella had her second surgery Saturday afternoon about 2PM. The vet called me about 4:30 to let me know all had gone well and said that Stella was already starting to wake up.  Their office is closed on Sundays but I stopped by to visit her Monday after class. She seemed a little less agitated than last time; although she did cry once I sat down next to her. I scratched her ears and back, frequently itchy spots for her, and that seemed to help. She stopped crying, drank some water and just really relaxed. I think the frustration of not being able to scratch due to the e-collar was her biggest complaint.

Tuesday I picked her up after work, she was already walking albeit with quite a limp. I put her in her pen when we got home, took the e-collar off, and she took a nice long nap while I worked on homework. Later I moved her to my bed and she conked out right away and snored loudly for almost an hour. I guess she didn’t sleep very well at the hospital because she was exhausted! She went out back twice that day, peed both times and pooped once – a small gooey, orangey-brown glob, nothing like her normal poop. For dinner she had white rice with a little shredded cheese and dry dog food mixed in, plus her evening painkiller and antibiotic hidden in a glob of peanut butter. She drank plenty of water, no more or less than usual, and all seemed well.

Tuesday night I slept on the couch to be near her. She fussed a bit when I first put the e-collar on but settled down quickly. Around 3:30AM she started whining so I took her out and she peed again, then came back in and went right back to her pen to sleep. I don’t remember noticing this during the day, but when I took her out at night she peed once, sniffed around as if she was looking for a spot to poop but instead peed again, just a few drops the second time. She did the same thing Wednesday morning and afternoon when we went out, but again no poop.

This evening (Wednesday) just before six, we went out and she did the same two pees, but I noticed that her urine looked red, kinda rusty colored. I panicked of course, I’m no doctor but I know blood in urine is never good. Unfortunately our vet closes at 6PM so we can’t go in right away, I was able to catch them and make an appointment first thing tomorrow morning though. After I hung up, I started Googling, like you do, and I’m a little less freaked now. It looks probable this is a UTI or bladder infection, not fun but not something that’s going to keep me up all night tonight. And since she’s already on antibiotics and painkillers for her knee, I can hope she’s not terribly uncomfortable. Stella is very stoic so it’s hard to tell when she’s in pain, but overall she’s acting totally normal – besides babying her leg a bit. Keeping my fingers crossed the vet gives her a clean bill of health in the morning!