Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gozer update and more

Gozer is doing much better now. We took her and a sample of her urine in this week and the urine had a pH of 6.0. She's pretty well stopped bleeding when peeing, too, so I think she's over the worst of the problem.

Clearly the food is working, and although she's showing some signs of itching she's responding well to it. The vet said that we could easily feed her another food while we were visiting Ian's parents so that we don't trigger his mom's allergies with the fish oil. So I guess that's what we'll do for now.

Speaking of itching, I've been incredibly itchy since last night. I woke in the middle of the night scratching and scratching and scratching and I've been scratching today, too. I took some Benadryl, which helped, but I'm still itchy.

I'm thinking I'm itchy either because of the flowers I bought for the dining room or the people we had here last night. Ian hosted a pinball league night here and we had about 20 people (some of them smokers) here. I bought the flowers to brighten the (newly clean) dining room. The night went well; everyone was respectful of the house and they weren't too loud or anything. Apparently there was a problem with one machine but the others all worked just fine so we're calling the evening a success.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Adventures with Gozer

We have had quite the week with Gozer. Sunday morning, Ian noticed that her pee looked orange, like it had blood in it. Her pee was a normal colour in the afternoon but we decided to take her to our vet on Monday morning.

We took a pee sample in to the vet's and they did an analysis which showed that it had magnesium phosphate (struvite) crystals, a pH of 7.0, bacteria, and red and white blood in it, with no sign of bile salts. They did an xray to see if she had stones but it was inconclusive so we set up an ultrasound for the next day. The vet gave Gozer an antibiotic shot because she has such a hard time with antibiotics.

The ultrasound showed no stones but a LOT of sediment from the crystals and signs of anaerobic bacteria. Fortunately, the antibiotic shot should treat that kind of bacteria as well as aerobic bacteria.

The main treatment is to get the pH in her urine down, which will make the crystals re-dissolve in her urine, and that's done by changing her food to lower the amount of protein she's getting. The vet prescribed Royal Canin Urinary SO but it has corn and chicken in it, which we think she's allergic to, and fish oil, which Ian's mom is allergic to. I contacted Gozer's dermatologist and she said to try to keep her on this food for 2-4 weeks to clear up this problem and if Gozer shows allergy signs (lots of scratching and licking and hotspots) then I need to make an appointment to take her in so that we can figure out her food.

I figure that if we do take Gozer to Ian's parent's place while she's on this food, we can just feed her squash and rice instead of the food while we're there. That way, we don't have to worry about Ian's mom's allergy - but this isn't a great long-term solution. I suspect Gozer may end up with allergies to the food before long anyways.

Unfortunately, I don't think there are many (if any) commercially available low-protein foods that meet the non-allergy requirements out there so I suspect that we will end up having to cook her food at home.

For now, Gozer is doing ok. She has varying amounts of blood in her pee from passing the crystals, which are sharp and cut her: sometimes there's none, sometimes it's all blood, and I know that when there's blood it hurts her. However, she's as happy and cuddly as usual and she's not straining to pee or anything. The ultrasound day was tough as they didn't take her out to pee afterwards (she went in not having peed in the morning) and she peed in the cage she was in :( She's bounced back since then.

Poor girl. I hope she's going to be ok.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014, hello 2015

It's almost time for a new year. Where does the time go? If I'm not careful, it just slips by without my noticing it.

We spent Christmas at Ian's parent's house. Well, it was fake Christmas because it was two days late; Ian had had a cold and we didn't want to infect his dad so Christmas was postponed until Ian was better. We had lots of delicious food and Ian's mom had decorated the house and yard so beautifully and I don't think any of us really noticed that it was fake Christmas.

We're spending a very low-key New Year's Eve. Ian's playing the video game he got for Christmas (Dragon's Age: Inquisition) and I'm helping by pointing out things the character can pick up. It's fun for both of us.

I have no idea what's in store for next year. This past year was pretty good (neighbour issues aside) and  I hope that next year is even better. I hope that your next year is even better than this last year. Happy New Year!  

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Book of Mormon

We saw The Book of Mormon this week. When it won all those Tony awards I knew I wanted to see it so when I heard that it was coming here, I was very excited. Our seats were close to the front but off to the side which isn't perfect, but allows us (Ian) to have more leg room.

I wasn't sure what to expect from the show. I knew it was a musical, and I knew it was funny, and that it was created by the creators of South Park. I figured that it would probably skewer Mormon religions - what with the title being the Book of Mormon and all - but it didn't, really. It did poke fun at the religion but not that much. I expected some inappropriate humour and it was also present but it wasn't as widespread as I thought it would be.

In many ways, the subject was fairly serious: two new Elders are sent to complete their two-year missions in Uganda. There, they arrive in a village where all the women are either circumcised or are going to be, almost everyone has AIDS, and people are oppressed by a very nasty general. One Elder undergoes culture shock while the other, who is an awkward, incorrigible liar, tries to bring the villagers hope (and tried to convert them, of course) by telling them his version of the Book of Mormon.

One thing I liked about the humour in the show was that it was generally very gentle and subtle and it wasn't mean. Even when they were making fun of Mormons, they weren't saying that the people or the religion was bad; they were just pointing out some inconsistencies but they weren't doing it in a negative way. I actually learned a thing or two about the history of Mormonism from this musical. Who'd have thought?

The actors were very good and I was quite impressed with their performance. The only quibble I had was that the sound levels for two of the performers was off just a bit and we couldn't hear them singing as well as we could the others. Aside from that, everything was smooth and well-executed.

Unlike at other shows we've attended recently, a physical program was given out. Aside from the venue and production company ads, there was only a single advertiser in the program: the Mormon church. I guess that makes sense.

I definitely recommend this show for adults only - this is not suitable for kids as there is quite a bit of swearing and some sexual situations. The Book of Mormon is funny, over-the-top sometimes, and there was a joke that was repeated once too often for my taste, but underneath all that it felt very serious, honest, and real. If this show is coming to your city, try to see it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Gozer's birthday and my optometrist

Time flies! Two Three years ago today Gozer joined our family. She's settled in so well that it's as if she's been here forever; I can't imagine life without her, now.

Update: Gozer came to us in 2011, not 2012, so we've had her for three years - time really does fly!

 We're celebrating by giving her an extra cookie and by giving her a replacement moo cow squeakie toy. Moo cow is a plush toy with a small round squeaker in it - the kind that's in most dog toys. Normally Gozer doesn't get plush toys because she eviscerates them but she loves them so much (probably because she can eviscerate them) but for her "birthday" we made an exception. I gave her moo cow this morning and she bit through the squeaker within one minute, after which she started gnawing on the plush legs and head. This is a toy that won't last long.

 I also saw an optometrist today. I'd been seeing my old optometrist for years and years but she's located in Uptown Waterloo, which is about a 20 or 25 minute drive away, and she's always, always, always running late. The last time I was there I waited for 40 minutes before I was told that she would be running even later; I rescheduled the appointment and walked out. Then I went looking for a new optometrist who was closer to home.

 My new optometrist is located at River St and Victoria Rd, about a 5-10 minute drive, a 45 minute walk, or a 15-min bus ride (including walking time to and from the bus). When I showed up this morning, they were running early due to a cancellation. The people were all very friendly and helpful. I loved the optometrist. Her eye prescription is just a little bit worse than mine at about -10 so she understands the particular challenges of having really bad eyes. She said that she will always dilate my eyes when I see her, which is fine with me.

We talked about laser surgery to correct my eyesight and she said that it's possible for people with our prescription (depending on the thickness of our corneas), but she wouldn't recommend it for me because of my cancer and the treatment. My eyes are already dry and the surgery can make them drier which in turn could impede healing. I don't need to add that kind of burden to my immune system, so no eye surgery for me. She did give me some sample contacts to see if I like the way they feel. It would be nice to be able to wear contacts for parties or Halloween or anytime I wear makeup. When she checked my vision, she saw that my left eye's prescription has improved ever-so-slightly.

It turns out that when they did the puff test to measure the pressure in each eye, the pressure was a bit high which is new for me. The optometrist then used one the new-to-me machines (she has more advanced equipment than my old optometrist) to take a picture of my optic nerves and to measure the thickness of my retinas, and it showed that there were some areas on my retinas that were thicker than the statistical norm. She isn't saying that I have glaucoma right now but she's concerned that I might be developing it. Therefore she's asked me to do a vision field test next week. If the results indicate some problems, she'll see me at least every six months; otherwise, it'll be once per year. My old optometrist used to do a puff test (although I haven't had one done in quite a while) but didn't have one of these scanning machines so I'm really happy that I've switched.

 I spent some time afterwards looking at their eyeglass frames. The people didn't really leave me to do that on my own, I think because some frames were tucked away and I wouldn't know where they were. I didn't buy anything this time but I'll keep looking. My glasses aren't going anywhere so it makes sense to me to have the prettiest, most flattering glasses possible.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

The end of neighbour problems... for now

I've been wrapped up in my own self and life for the last few weeks and I've barely noticed the world passing me by. As I mentioned before, we'd had work done on our property - which looks great, I'm just waiting to get pictures for you - and as I expected, we ran into problems with the neighbour when we got to the driveway.

The situation was worse because Ian was away and I had to deal with this neighbour myself and this is something I suck at. I'm not good at dealing with conflict, and I'm especially not good at dealing with someone who is being aggressive: I have a tendency to match aggression with aggression, especially when I'm feeling threatened or upset. At one point I was ready to move and investigated all the properties available in this area.

The neighbour stopped all work for an entire morning demanding that we do this and that and blustering about. He lied about where the property line was located and he lied about having had a permit to change the drainage on his driveway. He told me that he has a right to drive over the part of the driveway in the city easement area - the part that would have a sidewalk and boulevard, if we had them - because it's not owned by us. I still don't know if this is true but based on his other lies, I have my doubts. During this conversation he threatened to park on that part of our driveway (I checked and that is definitely illegal; he's not allowed to park on the boulevard area and he's not allowed to block access to our driveway). He also threatened to come onto our property and rip out the work we'd had done if he didn't like the drainage (I checked and that's also definitely illegal). He ended by telling me that we're enemies now.

I'm so grateful for the foreman, who was the one person would could talk to our neighbour. Seriously. He could even tell our neighbour that he was being an asshole and that if a neighbour was wasting his guy's time the way he was wasting theirs, he'd freak out. I gave them a big tip - or what I thought was a big tip - just for that. Nevermind that I also loved the work they did.

So far, the neighbour has left us alone. I had a chat with one of the other people on the street and apparently they're not happy with him (and vice versa, of course), either. They had their basement converted to an apartment and asked him for a quote. However, he gave them just a final figure with no breakdown of what different parts would cost, and although they asked him to break it down, he didn't. So they went with a different company and our neighbour freaked out. It's gratifying to know that I'm not alone in having problems with this neighbour.

One does have to wonder, though, why someone who makes their living as a contractor (as our neighbour does) would waste so much of another contractor's time. That doesn't seem to me to be a good way to conduct one's business... but what do I know? I'm a woman, and he doesn't deal with women.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Oncology appointment

I saw my oncologist today for my regular checkup. Everything is great. My CA 15-3 tumour markers, which had risen slightly the last two times, dropped back down to 36.

My scans were clear as well; there are no new lesions and everything looks the same as the scans I've had over the last few years. In fact, I'm doing so well that we're going to stop the denosumab, which is used to build up my bones. My oncologist figures that I don't need it since the cancer only affected the one bone and that bone is healing.

 We're also talking about removing my port-a-cath. I've had it in for 6 or 7 years and I'm now only actually using it to have bloodwork drawn every three months. My veins are bad but I think they can sustain bloodwork every three months if I were to have the port removed. So we'll see; I don't need to make a decision right now but it's something to think about.