Thursday, April 30, 2015

Kicked off the island

Weight today: 185

Mental capacity: seems to be back to normal

Tingle factor: still there, but not as bad as before

Olfactory Senses: sometimes abnormal....like the day I came home and it smelled like the house had been cleaned with latex paint instead of pine sol. That was weird.

But for the most part, it's getting better, as I suspected it might.

Last night I had a bit of a run-in with emotional eating even with the medication due to stupid...STUPID...friend BS that is reminiscent of some high-school TV drama. Get this...I was actually "kicked out" of a crafting group...a crafting group! Not exactly where one would expect to find highly volatile women. I'm confused, and angry. I'm not used to dealing with such ridiculous antics before so this is new territory for me. Accusations (that were false and unfounded) were made against me by one person who has had issues with others in the past. The whole thing was stupid...but for some reason, having my character called into question was a powerful enough force to overcome even the ever-so-powerful effects of the Qsymia and I managed to eat slightly more than my usual caloric amount yesterday. But I will survive. At least there was no ice-cream or Doritos in the house.

In the mean time, I know for sure that the other ladies in the group know that I'm not the person I'm being made out to be...so I can at least rest assured in that knowledge. It's still hard having your character attacked though. And really...over paper crafts. It's not even over something like stealing of diamonds, politics, or flirting with someone else's man...seriously.

Anyway...I was killing some time Sunday after getting my hair done and tried this dress on at Old Navy. It was on clearance and I wanted to buy it...but didn't. Size Large...I swear it looked WAY better in person than in this pic...made me feel super-duper skinny...


Not the greatest pic in the world...but I was just trying to show it to my husband to get him to convince me to buy it. I should have taken the pic from the side...that's where the real skinny-look came into play. I'm still half-tempted to order it on-line.

Also...just for kicks...I thought I'd share this with you. My husband has a knack for finding the most outrageous gifts for people. He bought this set of "prayer candles" for a group of friends at work...it cracks me up. I don't know how he finds this stuff, but he is seriously a pro.


Personally, I don't like extra stuff around my house that I have to dust...so I'm alight not keeping these. But knowing that they exist in the world...that just makes me happy.

Still no news from my recent job interview. My husband has a job interview for another position inside his company next week. That position would give him "bankers hours"...which would be nice. As it is right now his schedule changes from month to month and we almost never see each other. But he really, REALLY loves his company. So hopefully this other position works out for him.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Drugs

I love the Qsymia

No major weight loss in the last week. I'm down to 186.6....but it's down.

What's amazing is how I feel. I feel the way a human feels when they don't care about food. I feel the way I felt sometimes with the band when it was adjusted just right. I feel the way we expected the band would always make us feel...but it was kind of hit or miss. Man I miss this feeling. It's amazing.

But...and that's a biggg But! There are problems with this...

1. The feeling won't likely stay forever.
2. It's expensive.
3. There are side effects.
4. Did I mention there are side effects.
5. There are LOTS of side effects.
6. There will probably be a rebound effect that I'm definitely NOT looking forward to when I do finally go off.

But for now...damn I'm loving this stuff.

The good:

I really don't care that much about food. Unless it's right in front of me, I don't often think to eat. Sometimes, if I get a hunger pang...water actually quells it. This is beautiful. I feel like this is how naturally skinny people must feel...you know...those ones who "forget to eat".

All the sugar addiction issues I had been having are completely GONE. I can now eat a pinch of M&M's and then walk away. I've had a bag of M&M's in the house for 2 weeks now...same bag...been working on it for 2 weeks! Before the Qsymia...that bag and 4 of it's friends would have been gone in 1 day, easily. I would have chased all that candy with a couple pieces of cake and potentially some ice cream...and maybe some chips.

The Bad:

As I noted above, there are a lot of side effects. First of all...things tingle. My fingers, my face...my shins. It's not the worst thing in the world, but it is annoying. My teeth feel funky...it's a hard feeling to explain. I told the doctor it's kind of like they itch...or something. My whole head feels funky. It doesn't hurt...just feels kinda pressurized. I don't poop near as often as one should...I probably would be down another pound or two if I did. I'm very thirsty a lot (no biggie...I need to drink lots of water anyway). And my sense of smell is hyped up and thrown off...I swear I can smell everyone's breath. Everyone's. Even yours. Please...have some gum. Everything smells bad. Several times this week I've wondered why in the world someone in the office is microwaving urine. Obviously nobody is microwaving urine...but that is what it smells like to me.

Oh...and also I'm stupid. No...really...I've lost some IQ points, I'm sure of it. And it's a problem.

Words and names escape me...frequently. I'll just sit there...blanking out...mid-sentence. This became a MAJOR problem when I was attempting to give a presentation on Thursday of last week in a room in front of 40 people and I blanked out completely AND my mouth completely dried out simultaneously. That may have been the most humiliating 10 minutes of my professional career. It was bad. So bad...in fact...that the person I can't stand MOST OF ALL (feeling is mutual) felt pity for me and left the room to buy me a bottle of water. UGH. An act of kindness from this otherwise horrible, wretched person who typically makes my life miserable. I think that made the situation even worse. I wanted to cry.


Later in the week I actually DID cry. In front of my boss.


It was a bad week.
 
In following up with the endocrinologist this week about how the medication was going, we did discuss the side effects I am experiencing. Her words were to the effect of "the mechanism that makes you to disassociate from food can also make you disassociate from cognition as well. Some people can't tolerate that." I'm guessing the people that can't tolerate that are the ones with brains...or thoughts. Cuz it's weird to suddenly feel stupid. She said that we can pull the plug on the medication at any time if I feel like it's too much. She also suggested, potentially, trying some alternatives.

I'm actually holding out hope that the side effects resolve with time...because I feel less stupid every day (or maybe I'm becoming more stupid but stupid people care less and less over time...hmmmm???). My diminishing side effects over time theory is because I have a friend who takes Topiramate for her migraines and she said that the side effects took about a month to get past. That is one of the active ingredients in Qsymia and the one that is probably causing my I.Q. drop...so I'm ever-hopeful that this will improve. My doctor said that if I'm not feeling improvement after 3 months (I'm heading into week 5 now) that I will need to switch. In the mean time...it's working so well for the food cravings that I really REALLY am not at all ready to give it up. It's that good.

In doggie news, the poodle I think is a little depressed since Peyton's passing. I'm a little worried about her. She is sleeping in the bed at night with the Chinese Crested...which she didn't used to do. They used to sleep in their own beds alone. Scott also said that she was very, very clingy the morning he came home from the vet after we put Peyton down...like she knew immediately that he wasn't coming back. Poor girl. The poodle and the crested are each 10+ years old and not in the greatest of health, so I worry about them. She had one night of lethargy that gave me a scare but she has since recovered from that...I'm hoping that was "just a bug". That was a few days ago. That night I was thinking I was going to lose her too...two dogs in a couple weeks of each other. I didn't know if I could handle that.

Last month I started doing the Gwynnie Bee clothing rental thing as a stop gap (hopefully) as I get the (hopefully) remainder of this weight off (hopefully)...I'm very optimistic.

Actually...most of the dresses I received were on the "too big" side of things...so I'm not sure how long I will be able to be a member. But I got this one dress that I really contemplated buying because it was so dang cute. But...ultimately I returned it. It really was on the cusp of being too big...plus we are going into the summer months and it is a slightly heavier dress...so theoretically I shouldn't be able to wear it much longer...but it was a tough choice. Isn't it cute???

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

And with that...

Since this is...after all...a weight loss blog...

Check out this little number!




I'm very proud of this dress! Isn't it cute!

Size Large from NY&Co

Current weight: 188

I'm currently on my 3rd week of Qsymia. I'm certain I would have eaten my way through the grief of the last week if I had not been on it. Frankly...I love the stuff. I don't know how long they will let me stay on it, but it is definitely helping with some issues I've been having with control again. I haven't lost a ton of weight in 3 weeks but I have stopped binge-eating sugar, so that's fantastic.

I can't get too much into it right now because I've spent wayyyyy too much time tonight working on writing and NOT working on preparing for the job interview I have in less than 24 hours...so I should probably go. Yeah...that would be wise...

Thank you all for the kind words in your comments. I do appreciate all of them. I think after the interview tomorrow I will be 100% back to normal.

Ok...I'm going...for real this time....

A life lived in fast-forward

He lived his life in fast forward. That's what we decided about Peyton. It's like he knew his time was short...so he wanted to experience everything, now...no waiting...he had to do it as soon as possible! That explains all the whining. That explains why even after 7 years he never learned to not pull on his leash till he choked because he wanted to go faster on his walks. He wanted to see, smell and hump everything in sight. There was a great, big world out there and he wanted to experience all of it. His time was short and he didn't have a minute to waste!

I think I've muddled through all the stages of grief over the last few days. Maybe not the 5 original ones that Elisabeth Kübler-Ross published and everyone studies in their Psych 101 classes. I'm pretty sure I have my own  Five Six stages of grief. Lord knows I've experienced enough grief in my 41 years of life that by now I recognize exactly how I process it.

Stage 1: Denial and Isolation


Scott couldn't stay at the vet to watch the final injection of the medication that would stop Peyton's heart. Last year we had both listened to Alison Rosen's (a favorite podcaster of ours) horror story of her experience putting her dog down after an attack and he knew he could not handle the possibility of experiencing that himself were the same to happen with Peyton. Somehow I knew that Peyton would pass peacefully. Even so, I did ask the technician about the possibility and was assured that there was very, very little chance that it would go badly. I was willing to accept the risk but completely understood Scott's position. Even though I had Peyton for 4 years prior to meeting Scott, he was as much Scott's baby as he was mine. Scott left the room after saying his goodbyes with tears streaming down his face. When it was time for the injection the vet removed the breathing tube and monitoring systems and put Peyton in my arms for his final moments.

Though he died seemingly instantly once the injection started, I still held him for a long while. I shared some stories with the very compassionate vet about what a goofy dog he was while holding his still body in my arms. Stories about how he smiled a crooked smile with one side of his mouth, like Elvis. About how he would hug your arm if your were rubbing his chest while he laid on his back. About how he would run so fast through the house that he would skid across the floors and crash into the walls. The vet said he sounded like quite the character. Across the room the technician's face was red and her eyes were welled with tears. I don't know how they do this job every day. When I finally handed Peyton over to the tech his little body was still warm.

I walked out to my car and got in and wept in the parking lot of the vets office. And then I drove to work. I couldn't go home. Home scared me. I needed distraction. I needed to not see my husbands teary eyes. I needed to not be in the house with all the reminders of my dog who would not be coming home. I just wanted to be alone and busy somewhere else. Because that didn't just happen. That couldn't have possibly just happened to my 7 year old dog.


Stage 2: Depression


This stage is obvious.


Stage 3: Bargaining


They say it's a completely "normal reaction" to feelings of helplessness and vulnerability to try to regain control by wondering "if only"..."if only I had paid attention to symptoms the night before..." "If only I had taken him to the vet sooner...""If only I hadn't taken him to the vet at all and he had never gotten the medications that made him non-responsive so fast" (believe me...I realize now this one is stupid...but I did have this thought on Friday). "If only we had confirmed and treated his brain tumor..."

Stage 4: Aggressive Research


This is where I think I deviate from the normal person.

This is the part where I dig into my own records...and Google...and figure out what the hell happened. Was I right? Was it a tumor? Was it an overdose of sedation medications? Cancer? What the hell just took my dog away from me way sooner than we thought? I needed to know. I need answers.

Incidentally...this is the part when both my parents were diagnosed with cancer where I dug in and started doing aggressive research about their cancers, too...and my heart condition...and my paralysis...you name it...I've researched it. I don't call myself "the queen of the Google search" for nothing. I find solace in information. It's like putting together pieces of a puzzle in my mind.

Believe it or not...most of my answers were found in my own Facebook posts. What I learned was that my timeline for Peytons deterioration was far more distorted than what I had reported to the vet. I thought he lost his hearing 2 years ago...when in fact, it was only in January of 2014 that he suddenly lost it. I learned from a post that he could hear just fine on December 6th, 2013 when he went bananas as I was decorating the Christmas tree and that stupid Christmas song with all the dogs barking came on...he heard that just fine. But on January 30th I posted that I needed to take him to the vet because he seemed to be completely deaf.

I learned that the first time I posted about him walking into a wall was just 5 months later...in June.

In July I posted that he had gained a massive amount of weight (2 lbs on a 13lb dog is massive in just a couple months) even though we had him on a strict calorie controlled diet and daily exercise.

Late summer we started noticing "clumsiness" on occasion, like he would be walking along and suddenly would take a misstep and fall to the side, or would completely miss-judge a jump onto the bed or sofa.

In September we had increased issues with someone...uncertain which dog...eliminating in the house. I'm now fairly certain it was him.

In October I posted that he was driving me insane because he was whining and pawing at his food bowl to be fed hours and hours before a meal time. He started doing this more and more frequently.

All of these were signs of a tumor in the forebrain.

"Without treatment the average survival time for a brain tumor is 6-10 months."


So in fact...Peyton lived slightly longer than average.

Stage 5: Copious Reminiscing


All of the research of my own stage 4 has allowed me to achieve the Kubler-Ross stage of "acceptance" much more easily now that I felt more certain that not only were we right that he had a brain tumor, but also that even though that last day sucked...it was but one day in his short life. In the grand scheme of things, I wish he could have died peacefully in his sleep...but I'm content that he did not have weeks or months of pain or illness leading up to this. It was but only one night.

So with this acceptance...I turned back to Facebook...and my cellphone...and collected all my pictures and videos...and reviewed several of my goofy posts about him...and had some good laughs. He was quite a character.
Just a couple of past posts that made me laugh.


Stage 6: Humor




Friday, April 10, 2015

I lost my baby today


I brought him home at 8 weeks old on December 31, 2007.

This was the picture that was posted on the adoption site that had me driving several hundred miles round trip for the opportunity to adopt him:


Weeks earlier I had lost another dog-love of my life in a tragic accident that left a huge void in my heart. When I went looking for another Sheltie to adopt this little "Sheltie mix" named "Scooter" came up on the petfinder site and I just fell in love. I drove down to Beaverton, Oregon to adopt him the very next day, showing up before the doors opened so that I could be first in line.

When I held "Scooter" the first time he was just a tiny little thing. I laid him against my chest and he nuzzled into my neck and licked my skin. I had to have him...he was just too darn cute. He was so calm and sweet. I immediately adopted him and we headed back home to Tacoma. His new name in his forever home would be "Peyton". He quietly slept the entire 3 hour drive.

Peyton slept through the whole first night without making a sound. I thought I had adopted the most peaceful, well-behaved dog on the planet.

And then I figured out he was sick. Really sick. Poor little guy had an upper respiratory infection. He was blowing little snot-bubbles out of his nose. No wonder he had been so sleepy...he was fighting illness! So I spent the next several days medicating him...which was no easy task. The little bugger HATED having his mouth messed with. And puppies have dang-sharp little teeth! Eventually I would win the medication battles but I ended up with wounds to prove it. After the antibiotics took effect, the real personality of this little guy started to emerge. God love him...he was a rambunctious, attention seeking WHINER! Non-stop with the whining! Oh. My. Gosh...we used to call him a drama queen. He seemed so sweet and innocent...so calm and complacent those first couple of days. It was all a façade! And his energy...it never quit. Ever. He could run laps around the moon.



Oh...and he was definitely NOT a Sheltie. He was stubborn...so difficult to train. I would take him to "Puppy Kindergarten" classes and he would whine through the entire session, wanting nothing more than to play with the other dogs. Training was NOT on his agenda. But I adored him. I absolutely adored him. He was quite a doll. He was my little baby...for seven years he was my baby.



About 2 years ago he seemed to suddenly lose his hearing. I say "seemed" and "suddenly" because we honestly don't know when exactly it happened. We know that he used to come to his name being called. He used to come to the sound of hands clapping. He used to know when I would walk in the back door of the house when I returned home from work. And then one day he just stopped coming when called. And weeks later he stopped coming to the clapping. And then the most telling was the day I came home from work and walked all the way into the living room and scared the heck out of him, waking him from a dead sleep....he had no clue I was there.

We watched as he got used to his new deaf world...making adjustments by watching the actions of our other two dogs to figure out how he should act. If they flinched he flinched. If they barked he barked. He learned (sort of) to come to some hand signals. He used Lily as his hearing aid...following her because if she moved, more than likely food or a loved one was nearby.


We started having some concerns when he started doing some odd things in the middle of the night, like walking into doors and walls instead of through doorways. But the incidents were so isolated that we couldn't really point to a significant issue. And he seemed so happy and energetic the rest of the time that there was no other cause for concern.

There were some occasional deep sleeps that seemed like they might be something more akin to a seizure. But we didn't know for sure. And he always woke from it...and was always just fine afterwards.

The discussions we had, honestly...was that Peyton...more than likely...had a brain tumor. The hearing loss, the occasional walking into walls, the sometimes insane spastic running through the house he would do, and the questionable "seizures"...it just seemed like it was very possible. But if it were true, he was otherwise a very happy, healthy, energetic little guy...and any treatment would likely do more harm than good, so we consciously decided to just let him be. We had him evaluated by doctors...never going so far as to get an MRI...just enough to know that he was doing "ok".

 
Thursday was just like any other day. I went to work in the morning. Scott (who works nights) got up in the middle of the day and took the three dogs for a walk. He left for work at 3pm. I came just after 6:30. All three dogs were sleeping on the bed when I came home. Levi and Lily didn't move to bark at me, neither did Peyton...this had become our new normal.

At 7pm I started dishing up their food. They all came running as they normally do. Peyton ran excitedly into the kitchen as he normally did, and crashed into the cabinet...also normal. I laid the food bowls down, and he ate his at his usual pace. All three dogs went outside.

 
 
 
This is when the first weird thing happened....which I can't tell if it was any kind of a sign in hindsight or not, but Peyton came back inside while the other two hung outside for a while...which is the inverse of what usually happens. I just remember going and looking for Levi and Lily after a while, kind of in shock that they were still outside while Peyton was lazily sleeping on the bed.
 



Friday morning Peyton was scheduled to have his teeth cleaned under anesthesia at his old veterinary clinic in Tacoma so we had to be up early and he had to be off food and liquid after 9pm. So at 9pm I picked up the water bowl for the night and planned on snuggling with him for a little while before putting him in his kennel for bed. But at some point he jumped off the bed and I heard him walking awkwardly around the bedroom. Then I heard one of the other dogs snap at him...which happens a lot. He retreated to the bathroom...which I hadn't heard him do before. He usually retreated to the hallway. I picked him up and put him in his kennel. I didn't notice anything wrong at this point....but obviously something was.


Scott came home from work at 3am. As he usually does he opened the kennel to let Peyton out for a bathroom break. He noticed that Peyton seemed to not be interested in going outside, but instead walked to a couple different rooms in the house, but otherwise he didn't notice anything too off.

At 3:30 a.m. I thought I heard whimpering. I turned on the bedroom light to see who it was. All three dogs were perfectly still. I figured I must have imagined it and went back to bed.

My alarm went off at 4am for my workout. I laid in bed for a couple minutes not wanting to exercise. I heard some rustling around in Peyton's kennel. Then I heard some whimpering. I opened the kennel and Peyton stood up but did not exit. He looked confused and hunched over.

I put my hand in front of his nose so he could smell that it was me. It did not change his confusion. I pulled him out of the kennel and held him in my arms. Something was wrong but I couldn't quite tell what it was. He wasn't right.

He writhed in my arms. I set him down on the bed. He stumbled across the bed looking confused and agitated. Then he fell off the bed. He attempted to walk across the floor but he looked awkward and almost drunk. I thought maybe he was in the midst of a seizure like maybe something "slightly worse" than what I had caught in the past....


But 10 minutes later it wasn't getting better.

I had tried taking him outside. He came in and walked into the elliptical machine...confused.

I woke up Scott.

Something was definitely wrong. I had a foreboding feeling in my heart that my dog was dying.

I got dressed to drive him to the emergency animal hospital. While I was dressing he fell off the bed again. Scott didn't know to hold onto him...didn't know how bad this morning had been so far.

I picked him up and put him on the front seat of the car and started to drive. He curled into a ball. After a couple of blocks I could no longer hear his breathing.

The animal hospital is only 3 minutes from my house. I'm not sure I breathed until I heard him take a breath again.

I took him in and they took him back to evaluate him. They asked me questions...had he eaten anything? Did he have access to any toxins? How long had he been acting like this. They said he looked bad. They took his blood. They sedated him...and then he declined. He was no longer breathing on his own. He was no longer responsive.

He was euthanized at 10am. I held him in my arms as he died peacefully...no pain. No sound.

I regret that the final 8 hours of his life were filled with some anxiety, confusion, and desperation that maybe I didn't pick-up on soon enough. But I know that this little boy was loved fully and lived a vibrant, energetic, happy-dog life...

I will always love you little man...always.