Two weeks from diagnosis

Blaze has been doing better on steroids and chemotherapy, but is still a shadow of the dog he used to be. He lacks energy, he tires 3/4 of the way around the block, and even the slightest of inclines feels like a huge obstacle. He is beginning to lose his appetite again just as his digestive system is starting to encounter problems, and his weight hasn’t increased by more than a pound or two.

Nobody knows how long he has. On steroids alone, he would last a few weeks. On chemotherapy, possibly a few months. We never really get an answer when we ask, probably because every dog is so different from another. Its hard to live day by day, seeing how he is and trying to brace yourself for an unknown moment in time. But that’s all Blaze or any of us have – just this moment. Living in the now has never been more vital to us.

This all happened so fast.

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Our dog Blaze has always had a sensitive stomach. It seems collies are sensitive in every way – their skin, their reactions to drugs, their digestive systems, and most of all in their temperament. Poor Blaze has always had trouble with finding and sticking to a food that didn’t cause issues. Sadly, on cancer treatment and with his GI tract affected, it is taking a turn for the worse.

Blaze never has accidents. If he does, its our fault for not taking him out when we should have seen the signs in his behaviour. During his chemo pill run of four days, Blaze would take a nap and wake up after urinating himself. He needed to go outside every hour, and be woken up in order to do it, or he (and the floor) would need another cleanup. This morning, after the pills were done, our couch was a casualty.

Lymphoma is a nasty disease in dogs. We know things can deteriorate hard and fast. We’re blessed to have time with our dog, but its hard to see him confused and worried. And that’s what he does, when he senses how we feel during all of this. After all, he’s a sensitive boy.

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The bad news.

We knew it would happen someday, but we had always wanted to believe we had more time. It was part of the deal when we took Blaze, our beautiful older collie, into our lives. We were his retirement home, and someday that meant having to say goodbye.  Unfortunately that time is almost upon us.

Two days ago Blaze was diagnosed with lymphosarcoma. Without medication he would have only weeks to live. With, his chances increase to possibly 5-6 months. However with lymphoma, a dog can take a turn for the worse and be gone within hours. Blaze has his liver, spleen, and GI tract affected, and that makes the prognosis even worse. While we wait on learning what his test results reveal, Blaze has begun his first round of medication… on top of everything he must stomach at home.

I’ll be blogging his journey, and ours, here.

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Just Mauied

We recently went to Hawaii for one of those big moments in life… getting married. Unlike most of the weddings we had been invited to, our big moment was decidedly small and intimate. As in, less than a dozen people small (including the musician, photographers and officiant). It was a wonderful day with three family members, two good friends and a gorgeous setting. What made the occasion truly memorable was that it took place in one of our favourite places, the Four Seasons in Maui. They took care of everything with one of their wedding packages, so we didn’t have to worry about the photographs, the license application, etc etc. It was  completely stress-free (aside from how in the world I’d stagger down the aisle in my 4 inch heels).

The ceremony itself was one day out of a blissful ten in Hawaii. Many of the people in our hotel chose to spend their days lounging near the pool while sipping cocktails. Not so for us! It was a tricky thing to not get sunburned, bruised or battered while boogie boarding, paddle boarding and snorkeling. In the end, there were more than a few sunburns on the big day. If I had one nobody could tell… that makeup was waterproof, bulletproof, and could possibly survive a solar flare at close range. It was gorgeous and NOT GOING ANYWHERE. Can’t wait to see the rest of the photos, but here’s one by the talented Anna Kim:

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An unexpected visitor

Lately, my oldest cat Meelo has taken to escaping the house whenever possible. I haven’t been as militant about keeping her inside as I have been with the boys, because Meelo is a good deal smarter. Today is evidence that I might need to rethink that conclusion.

While I was roasting vegetables and doing dishes this afternoon, I happened to glance up and notice the dog doing his business in the back yard. This wouldn’t be an issue were it not for the fact that OUR dog was at work with Jelmer. An entirely different dog was nosing around, peeing in the backyard and generally making itself at home.

WTF?

I step outside and the dog glances back at me as its about to exit down the driveway. I call it over, alarmed because well… this is a loose dog! What if it’s lost? And it most certainly isn’t safe (or legal) to have a dog roaming about.  Suppose it got hit or caused an accident? Not good for anyone and especially not for the lab. After offering it some water I found Blaze’s old slip lead and decided the dog would probably be able to lead me to its home, and I would make sure that it stayed on the sidewalk rather than the alternative. So off we went, and as we left the driveway I heard the telltale jingle of… Meelo’s collar.

So THAT’S why I had a visitor.

We strolled up the cul-de-sac, straight to the house of two neighbours I had not met who were busy doing renovations. They were very nice, but apparently this was not their dog either. They’d never seen him. Oh great. He was taking me for a stroll. I thanked them, and started back to the main road. Within a few minutes my new little friend had led/yanked me to his house, and I took the lead off.

I wonder what would have happened if I had not led him home? There were plenty of cars going by. The dog didn’t even have a tag on his collar, so I had no way to contact his owners. If something had indeed happened to the pooch, how could anyone tell the owners their dog was not okay? Just reeks of irresponsibility. Not only that, its a $250 fine not to have a dog license, and a further $250 for a loose dog not on a lead.

In other news, Meelo is grounded.

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Fundraising – Drag Dad, Vamp U & Marian Call

Tis the season for more fundraising! I’m not asking my readers to back these projects. I just want to share them, because in all honesty I LOVE sharing talent or things that I find cool & deserving of attention.

Drag Dad
This film is very important to me. I mistakenly clicked the trailer first, which I think was actually a good thing. Its upbeat and gets right to the point.

The fundraiser itself is located here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bjornfloki/drag-dad

Vamp U
This is actually a completed film, has won several awards, and the entire trailer is nothing short of hilarious. They are currently looking to finesse the product. As far as independent projects go, its hard to find anything this polished on any of the fundraiser sites. And the rewards are pretty stellar. I personally can’t wait to have my name immortalised in song as a sexy vampress. It will be my theme song when I enter a room. Screw wedding marches, this will be IT. I’ll even have it played at my funeral. Seriously. People will have stakes on standby.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1948267448/vamp-u-feature-film

Marian Call European Adventure Quest
Last but absolutely not least, a lady who is doing spectacularly well in the fundraising department but who I would like to publicise simply for the fact that she is incredible and it is a crime more people do not know about her. This my friends, is the musician Marian Call. If you can’t be bothered to listen to her spiel, skip ahead to 1:35 and listen to her SING. And play with her star wars toys. Its ridiculously brilliant. And then of course, listen to her talk. Because that’s kind of important too. Or just read the damn page, all located here:
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mariancall/marian-call-european-adventure-quest

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SDCC Day 4

If SDCC has a Good, a Bad and an Ugly, then I’m fairly certain the lines would be the Bad, and the greed would be the Ugly. Unfortunately, all that greed raises its head on Sunday, the day when most con attendees know the exhibitors are handing out all that extra stuff they brought with them FOR FREE.

You’re a 57 year old man who has never seen My Little Pony but there’s an adorable poster being handed out? Grab. Hasbro minitoys and you don’t even know a kid who’d want them? Grab. Pathetic tiny excuse of a poster for a toy and its covered in sponsor logos? GRABBBB

Let’s be fair – its so chaotic at the convention that most of the time you don’t even know what you’re lining up for. Sometimes its worth it, and sometimes its really not. The safest thing to do is get in line, get the freebie, then if you really don’t want it let another attendee have it … which is exactly what I did with a Hasbro item. I did line up for the free Pacific Rim t-shirts and posters, because DUH.

Other than that, it felt like everyone had returned that afternoon to get everything they could before it was all gone. The atmosphere was very different, and we decided we’d had enough. A few goodbyes to friends at booths and we were on our way out the door.

I had one last bout of freebie fever when I noticed someone being given a spare WB bag. I walked over to see if they were indeed handing them out. Unfortunately, a bunch of people behind me got the same idea. While I waited patiently at the counter they started to grab at bags, earning the wrath of the middle aged volunteer who yelled at them then promptly turned his steely gaze on me.

Hoo, boy.

I very politely explained I was leaving for a flight in an hour, and was wondering if they were giving away bags at this time.

He blandly informed me that they were not being given away, only replaced if yours had broken. And then he defrosted slightly and said, “But you can have one because you’re nice, and you didn’t grab.”

I overflowed with thanks, then we made our way back to the hotel. The bag was festooned with images from Justice League and other animated series. Series I had not seen. It looked cool, and I could think of a friend or two who might like it back home, and somehow that was justification enough.

And then something happened that was nothing short of poetic.

There in the lobby was a teenager who was struggling with his own WB bag, but one that had broken at the shoulder strap. He had a huge box stuffed in it but it was now quite useless. The porter talking to him mentioned they seemed really flimsy this year, and his wasn’t the first to break.

I reached into my bag, pulled out the freebie I had just received, and handed it to him.

Yeah, I’m sickening. I should be a Hallmark card. But don’t think too highly of me… if that had been a Pacific Rim bag, who knows if I’d have parted with it?

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