Friday night we had a standing appointment with our vet and after that we’d be taking Henry home (about 27 hours after surgery). First off, I’d like to update you about the vet, Henry’s prognosis, etc. Then I’ll include pictures – yes, they are graphic. I will warn you before if you don’t want to keep scrolling.

So you can get an idea of how large the lump on Henry’s rump is/was, here is a picture. He’s kind of a wiggle worm, so this was the best picture I could get.

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We got to our vet appointment and this is what we were told: The largest mass (on his right rump area) was basically a fat capsule. It will probably continue to grow. We asked what would cause it and our vet said that sometimes certain dogs can have parts of their DNA kind of turn on like a switch and cause an over-production of some things; like fat. He’s surprised that this happened to Henry since he’s not really a fat dog already. During the surgery, our vet discovered that it is intrusive – meaning it has many fingers reaching out and grabbing onto things. One of its fingers is nestling on Henry’s sciatic nerve. Our vet, not wanting to cripple Henry, left it alone. We were originally told that he removed the top half of it. I’m assuming there was some miscommunication there because our vet decided to not remove any of it. His reason being that it can “kind of upset the Gods” and make things worse. I asked him if there was going to be a time in our future where Henry would have to have an amputation. He didn’t say no, but he assured us that Henry can get around for a good while with this. He said that Henry will most likely be using his back leg as a kickstand when he’s older. He’ll kind of secure it up when he’s running, but when he’s standing it’ll act is a kickstand. Though, an amputation could happen, he’d like to avoid that at all costs.

Regarding the smaller lumps on the lower thigh, he removed the lump itself, the skin it was attached to, as well as the connective tissue underneath that rests on the muscle. He wants to really make sure that this will never come back. He’s not sure how it came back in the first place. Because he had to remove the connective tissue, this will result in a lot more pain than he wanted for Henry, but he needed to be thorough. We spent and extra $80 to have this sent off for testing to once again make sure it isn’t cancerous.

Now regarding the kidney/bladder stones, they were actually bladder stones. (Staff kept saying both kidney stones and bladder stones.) Once he stapled Henry up on the rump and thigh, he flipped him on his back and made an incision to the lower abdomen to retrieve the bladder stones. Once he got in there, he discovered that they weren’t there any longer. This is frustrating because it’s another incision to bother him. Our vet also discovered that Henry has an incredibly wide urethra for a dog and that Henry most likely passed the stones with no problem. (He seriously said that if he were to write in a medical journal about Henry that no one would believe it was all about the same dog – poor guy.) To avoid future stones, Henry will permanently be on a special urinary tract vet food.

Shortly before we were leaving, the rest results came in regarding his allergies.
For allergy tests, if the score is between 2 and 6, then action needs to be taken.

Henry is allergic to:
Short ragweed – score 3
Mugwort – score 1
Russian thistle – score 2
Rough pigweed – score 3
Giant ragweed – score 4
Yellow dock – score 1
Maple (tree) – score 4
Willow (tree) – score 1
Red top (grass) – score 2
Orchard (grass) – score 3
June (grass) – score 2
Cat dander – score 2
Sheep wool – score 2
Human dander – score 2
D. pteronyssinus (dust mites) – score 1
D. farinae (dust mites) – score 2
Aspergillus (mold) – score 2
Cladosporium (mold) – score 4
Mucor (mold) – score 3

Once Henry has healed from this surgery, he will undergo allergy shots to help him out with this. They’ll take the top 12 offenders from the list to decide on what goes in the allergy shots. We live in the woods, so the botanical molds, grasses, and trees don’t help him one bit. We recently purchased THIS air purifier to help clean these things from the air in our home – it doesn’t help that the air conditioner is pulling them in. We’re vaccuming more often to help with the cat and human dander as well. Hopefully this will cut down on any reactions and help prevent his thigh lumps from coming back.

Life at home post-op is hard. And I mean, like this is the hardest. He is so miserable. He was sent home with pain meds and half the time they don’t cut it at all. We have been by his side the entire time he’s been home cleaning his drain and assisting him in laying down and getting up. Every 5-6 hours we’re putting a hot compress on the stapled area near his drain – we were told to do this to help any fluids drain out better. When the pain medicine has worn off and he’s not able to have another dose yet, we do another compress and this seems to really help with his pain. He’s also restless and cries constantly because he’s so uncomfortable. This has basically resulted in us getting very little sleep. This Friday, the 1st, he’ll he going in for an assessment of the drain site and hopefully they’ll remove the drain. The next Friday, the 8th, is when he’ll hopefully get his staples removed. On his thigh, there are 25 staples. On the upper rump area, there are 18 staples. We can’t really get a great look at his lower abdomen staples, but we estimate that there are about 12 or so. This is a lot of staples. We’ve had him for only a couple nights at this point, but it seems like it has been a week.

I’d like to thank everyone for their questions in asking about him, as well as the thoughts & prayers.

Below I’ll be posting the graphic pictures, so if you don’t want to see them, then please don’t scroll down. These pictures are merely for me to gauge the progress of the incisions as well as for future reference if/when the lump come back a couple years from now – I can always make a quick search and refresh my brain what was said.

Here the pictures:

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(Click on any picture to enlarge.)

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Henry gets the chills when he has a compress on. We got some safety blankets for Christmas last year, so we grabbed one really quickly. It helps keep the heat in for his compress.

If you remember this post, and this post, and this post, and this post, and this post, then you’ll remember that when Henry was about 1.5 years old he developed some lumps on his right thigh. It was a horrendous ordeal and Henry just had a horrible time recovering. Henry would literally scream every time he had to move his leg at all for the first 3-4 days because it was so tender and sore.

I know some people might think that these posts are useless. I share these updates with you (and to my facebook followers) so that you know what’s going on in my life regarding things that are important to me. I try to keep these posts going because I don’t want to forget what happened. I want to keep something “alive” and reference it from time to time. I always go back and reread my posts about Cogs, Aesop, Amelia, etc., because I don’t want to forget them. And posts like these and the ones I linked above are great for referencing as well as a timeline. (For instance, taking the pictures of Henry’s graphic staples were for us to see the progression of healing and to make sure something isn’t getting worse or turning some weird color. Not to mention that it’s good in case something gets worse and I can show the pictures to the vet.)

About a year ago, I noticed that Henry’s lumps came back. Since his first lumps were non-cancerous, I just assumed that these were as well and I didn’t really want to have to put him through another surgery if I didn’t have to. About 3-4 weeks ago, Henry had a vet appointment and the vet noticed that a larger lump had come in as well on the top of his rump on his right side. It was something that we didn’t even notice until it was pointed out to us. Now that I know it’s there, it’s all I can see. We didn’t want to do surgery right away because we were going on vacation and I really wanted Henry to be able to enjoy it – since the dogs travel with us. We had a plan that after we got back from vacation, we’d get Henry in for allergy testing and then have surgery in the next few weeks. (We found out that his lumps were most likely cause by allergies. And a few years ago we were told that when they came back we could get him tested for allergies to hopefully prevent more lumps from coming back.) In the 3-4 weeks until now, I know that Henry’s lump was all I could see when I looked at him. And I could swear it was getting bigger. On Tuesday, of this week, Henry had a vet appointment to be tested for allergies. Our vet didn’t like the look of the lump one bit. It WAS getting bigger and our vet wants to operate immediately. During that appointment, Henry had x-rays done of the area. Five kidney stones were discovered. We also found out that Henry’s more aggressive lump on his rump is growing in under the muscle and that the muscle is stretching outward. I’m hopeful that since it’s underneath muscle, that they’ll be able to close Henry up really well. If you look at my past posts regarding these lumps, you’ll see that Henry’s skin had to be stretched so tightly so that they could close it because the previous lumps were unwilling to let go of surrounding skin and muscle. I’m hoping that this aggressive lump isn’t touching skin at all. With the large size of it, if a lot of skin needs to be removed, we may be dealing with an open wound and they have a recovery period of 6-8 weeks. I really don’t want to make Henry wear a cone for 6-8 weeks. Not to mention that Charlie will go crazy being apart from Henry for that long.

Next Thursday, the 24th, we will be dropping Henry off before work and picking him up on Friday, the 25th, after work. Our vet will be removing the five kidney stones as well as the largest lump. The vet believes this will be a lengthy operation, so the two small lumps on his thigh (they came back in the exact same spots) might have to wait and a second surgery be performed.

In this picture I have added a blue circle to where the lump is to give you an idea of the size of the lump. (Click to enlarge.)
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Please keep Henry in your thoughts. This is going to be rough.

Thank you.

Sorry I haven’t posted much. I don’t really have reliable internet at home, so I have to compose posts on my breaks at work or on my phone. I have been composing this post for quite a while.

First, Brian and I celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in Cheboygan/Topinabee/Mackinaw City/Mackinac Island. We had 10 glorious days off and it was just great. Brian’s family also spent a few days up in Mackinaw City and it was nice to get to hang out with them. It’s so weird to think that Brian and I have been married for 5 YEARS. Yet sometimes it feels like we’ve been together forever.

As always, the dogs accompanied us on our vacation. It was a little rocky for the first 3 days or so because we were staying with friends and one of the people in the house just absolutely terrified Henry enough to where he was shaking and cowering constantly. If anyone knows Henry, they’d know that he’s not like that at all. He’s a happy-go-lucky kind of guy that just loves everything. It was just very unlike him. I’m so thankful for my mother-in-law because where we were staying we had NO cell phone service and she helped us book a room so that we could see them up in Mackinaw. Otherwise, we were just going to go home. After we left Cheboygan area for Mackinaw City, Henry just wasn’t the same. It was almost like he was broken. He was terrified of EVERYTHING. So, we looked up pet stores in the area to see if there were any near us so that we could try a Thundershirt (if you’re unfamiliar with them, click HERE.) I was always skeptical of them, but we were so desperate for him to calm down that we were willing to do anything to get him back to normal. The Thundershirt has a special patch on it where you can spray a calming spray on it and that will also help with calming them. (We bought THIS ONE). Long story, I know… The closest pet store was in Petoskey. Brian offered to go so that I could stay and try to keep Henry calm in his new environment. He got back a couple hours later and we put it on Henry immediately with the calming spray. Within a few minutes he was laying down and calmer. After about a day of wearing it off an on, he was back to normal. We were SO relieved!

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Here’s Henry in his thundershirt.

Shortly before we left for vacation, we found out that Henry has to have a major surgery. I’ll update you with another post about that.

For now, he are some pictures from our vacation…
(Please click on any picture to enlarge.)

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Swimmin’! We got the pool all to ourselves.

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5 years!

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Walking on the trail that goes around Mullet Lake in Cheboygan/Topinabee area.

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Mullet Lake

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Hen laying around.

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Brian made a friend. They pretty much only talked about Legos, Star Wars, and Lego Star Wars. ;)

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Carlos catching Z’s.

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Heading to the Island from Shepler’s.

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The kites at Mackinac Island.

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Some cuties at Mackinac. :)

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Ellie playing at the playground on the island.

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The bridge!

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Fireworks over Lake Huron.

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Charlie at the beach on Lake Huron.

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Charlie “people watching.”

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Brian and Henry at the beach.

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Chuckleberry hound smiles.

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Lunch!

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Charlie and Henry relaxing on the bed with me.

All-in-all, it was a great vacation. It was nice to get away and not have a schedule.

In my next post, I’ll update you on what’s going on with Henry.

Cognac passed away on April 7, 2014. He randomly developed an aortic blood clot that lodged itself in such a way that his back legs weren’t being supplied with blood. When I got home from work that day, I sensed something was wrong with him. I always pay attention to my cats’ behavior, but I did more with Cogs. Cogs has not had an easy life. We were originally told by our past vet that Cognac was allergic to his teeth. He’d had all but 12 teeth removed, an abscess removal, countless upper respiratory infections, as well as smacking his head and going blind for a few weeks. Our current vet was finally able to diagnose what was wrong with Cognac after about 4.5 years; calici virus – incurable. Our vet said that Cogs probably lives every day with a horrible sinus headache because of the virus. We wrapped our heads around it, and were eventually able to move on. I always had special, sweet moments with Cogs. About once a week I’d check his breath to smell for any infection. He hated it, but he dealt with it like a champ. This aortic blood clot was really just salt on the wound. I’m going to be frank… It really pisses me off that he had to die this way. As if he already hadn’t been dealt a rough hand in life. I’m really glad that I sensed something was wrong with him because our vet said he’s seen some cats come in after 20+ hours with the clot and they already have rigor mortis setting in their hind legs. He told us that this was really rare and out of his 5,500 patients, he sees this maybe twice a year. It didn’t really make us feel better, but I’m glad we caught this clot early.

I will never forget the moment that I saw Cogs for the first time or how he won me over and we decided to adopt him. We went to a place in GR called Jandy’s Home, which I believe is no longer in business. It was horrible. It was the size of a single car garage that had at LEAST 30 cats in it. Cognac was perched up high on a cat pen. (It was similar to THIS one, only not as spacious. He was up pretty high.) I would have never noticed he was up there. All of a sudden, I felt something on my shoulder; his foot. The next thing I knew, he was sitting on my shoulder. He perched himself up there the entire time we were there. We fell in love with him and just couldn’t say no. (We also adopted Georgia that day.) After Cognac’s diagnosis, I actually started to hate where he came from because in that cramped hell hole of a place (albeit, they had good intentions) was where he most likely came in contact with the calici virus. I hated that he was in pain every day, but I was comforted in knowing that we could help control it with pulse therapy antibiotics.

Another thing I’d like to add is that Cognac loved EVERYONE that came in contact with him. He especially loved our Goddaughter, Natilee. When she was over, he was always close by. When she saw him, she did nothing but giggle at him.

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See?

I have a better picture of him somewhere that I’m still looking for. Natilee was giggling nonstop at the site of him on his cat tower. When I find it, I’ll insert it here. (I have hoards of pictures, really.)

Update:
Found it/them…

Cogs Nat

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Baby giggles ensued…

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Next I’d like to just add a series of some of my favorite pictures of him. Please click on any picture to enlarge.

Cogs and I:

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This picture was kind of funny. I had just taken a picture of the two of us. I surprised him and he looked super annoyed in the picture. Once he woke up, he got on my back and laid there leaving me trapped.

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Cognac was always an “in your face” kind of cat.

Cogs and Brian:

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Cognac was the only cat I ever knew that got a puffy tail when he was happy.

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Laying with B.

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Cogs and pals:

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Cogs and Aesop were always inseperable. We lost Aesop a few years ago to feline leukemia. We always joked that Aesop didn’t know what personal space meant, and you’ll see why…

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Even as a baby, Aesop knew he liked Cogs.

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Cognac and Georgia were pretty much BFFs. I’m not sure if she realizes something happened to him or if she’s just looking for him trying to find him.

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Next, the “upside down looker” pictures…

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Cogs had a knack for laying upside down. I have a ton of pictures that look just like this one.

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Next are just some of my favorites…

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Notice his tail? He was my long string bean.

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Cogs Caves

Lastly…

Cogs bathroom

Cognac was a huge part of my morning routine. If he wasn’t on our bed, he was in our bathroom. So much so, that we put a bed in there for him. Almost every morning he nagged me to get out of the tub so that he could drink the shower water. This has been hard for me transitioning into him not being around, but I know I can heal.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post.

My hair used to be super curly, though I could never get my hair to hold curl from a curling iron. When I hit the age of about 24 I noticed that I lost most of the curl in my hair. It’s been quite difficult because I’m not really sure how to style my hair anymore – Thanks, hormones! What I didn’t know is that now that my hair has changed, I can actually get curl from a curling iron to stick! I don’t know when that changed happened, but I’m just discovering this at 28 years old.

I’ve been dabbling into styling my hair now. I’m learning and watching tutorials online because it’s not like I grew up doing this over and over. I recently bought this conical iron. <-- Clickable link This curling iron gets super hot. No joke. Like, over 400 degrees. Insane! I don’t, obviously, use the highest setting because, you know, we’ve all seen that video and I’m scared. (If you don’t know the video I’m referring to, please CLICK HERE.)

What I don’t like: Nothing, really! I love this thing!

What I do like: I like that it holds its heat and that it’s consistent throughout the whole curl. I love everything about this iron.

Would I recommend this to a friend? Yes!

Would I buy this again? I hope I don’t have to!

I think it works pretty awesome!
Profile Pictures

A while back, a friend had me join influenster. I’m still not entirely sure what it is completely. Basically they send you products, based on your liking, and you review them.

I received the Venus® Embrace Sensitive Razor a while back and then everything with my Dad happened again, so I’m just now taking the time to review this razor.

This is gross, but I waited a super long time to use this razor because I wanted to see how it would do on long leg hair. I used it this morning and it worked really well. It took that hair off super fast. (Now my legs are cold ;) ) I have no irritations with this razor, either. I usually get irritations on my legs and don’t like shaving them. This was a breeze and only took me about 6 or 7 minutes.

Would I recommend these to a friend? Yes. Definitely.

twenty two

Okay, you guys all know that I’m a complete nail polish junkie. I LOVE NAIL POLISH!

Around Christmastime I bought this set. <- Clickable link Frankly, I’m a little disappointed. I have worn about 14 of the twenty two and I’m not impressed. Some definitely need more than two coats for total coverage. Some of the metallic ones actually start to peel off. I wore the purple metallic one and after a few days, I could scrape off the purple tint and leave the silver behind.

What I don’t like: Inconsistency in the consistency of the formulas. The metallic foil ones don’t last long or you have to keep putting on top coats to preserve them.

What I do like: As a whole, the set has a lot of nice colors to choose from. If you’re into nail designs, you can obviously do a lot with these. Also, the confetti top coats are really nice. They come off really nicely, too.

Would I recommend this to a friend? Honestly, not really. If they really wanted them, then I’d suggest that they definitely test it out in store instead of just buying online.

Would I buy this again? Probably not unless they were on clearance or I tested them beforehand. When I wear polishes, I really WEAR them. I do a lot with my hands. And these just didn’t last me for as long as some of my other polishes that are cheaper. Individually, these are $10.50. I couldn’t justify buying a whole new bottle for this price when I know that I can get a better quality polish for a cheaper price.

I’ve expanded my collection as well…

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Clearly I’m crazy. BUT THEY’RE SO PRETTY!

instant age

I follow a lot of youtube makeup gurus. I’d like to do that someday, but I’m not confident enough yet. One in particular LOVES Maybelline’s Instant Age Rewind Concealer Eraser. <- Clickable link

So, the next time I was in a Walmart or a Meijer, I bought one. I didn't much care for it. Recently I started using it again. I spent my hard earned money on this product, I wasn't going to waste it. Now I love it. I just set this with a setting powder really quick and I'm good to go. Only takes a minute.

What I don’t like:
It’s actually pretty difficult to tell how much product you have coming out. You can’t see it or at least I can’t see it on mine. I have to do about 5 or 6 clicks before I notice a difference when putting it on.

What I do like:
It does a wonderful job of brightening. The sponge on the tip does a nice job of blending it in for you. It doesn’t have an overpowering scent either – that’s always a plus for any product.

Would I recommend this to a friend? Absolutely. It works well and does what it says it will do. It’s not expensive, either.

Would I buy this again? I have a lot of different concealers that I experiment with. This one has a fool proof application that doesn’t create a sticky mess. I would definitely buy this again. It works great if you’re in a hurry and it’s something that you could easily keep in your purse.

Hi, everyone. I’m not sure who reads my blog much anymore since I haven’t really been able to post much. We’re still having complications with my Dad and will be heading into another surgery this Friday. Since mid-April last year we’ve had so many things happen regarding his health and it has been incredibly frustrating. There are many things that I wanted to accomplish in 2013 (10k training completion) and a lot of things got pushed to the back burner while I became a medical advocate for my Dad.

So, that explains my lack of presence on the site, which I completely apologize for.

You all know that I’m a nail polish JUNKIE. And I have added so much more to my collection and I’ll post pictures of that soon. I’ve also been getting into makeup more and learning techniques and if I can ever get things to go the way I’d like, I’d like to attend school to become a professional makeup artist. Until then, I’d like to start sharing with you certain products that I’ve bought (both low end and high end) and share my reviews on them. It’ll be a good way for me to really keep up with my passion and you might be able to ask me questions on products you’re thinking about trying that I might have already tried.

I also got THIS BOOK from my awesome mother-in-law for Christmas and I’ve been learning SO many things about my skin. So, I’ll possibly start sharing with you not just makeup, but skin essential products as well. I have incredibly dry skin and my husband has incredibly oily skin. So, I’ll be able to pull him into the blog for his thoughts on some skin care products that I’m forcing asking him to try out.

Sorry for not posting in a while! I’m bad.

Here’s episode 2 of Monster Box.

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