Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas Post

Merry Christmas to everyone!

The gorgeous little ornaments above came to me in an ornament swap. I was looking for a place to hang them, not having put up a tree this year, then decided they looked very sweet in this bowl of pot pourri in the centre of the table.

I was also spoiled by a Secret Santa swap partner who sent me a wonderful parcel full of goodies, including chocolates, cashews (my absolute favourite treat) divine soap and the sweetest cross-stitch gift tag. It also included this fantastic wall-hanging:

Another thoughtful friend sent me a lovely surprise parcel as well, full of beautiful handmade goodness and vintage charm.

As for me,  I just haven't been doing much crafting lately. I put aside my crinoline ladies for a while to work on a set of embroidered puppy dogs instead but I only finished two before putting that aside too. I must get back to work on these, they are sooo cute:

I have been very lax about posting lately and have very rudely also failed to respond to the lovely friends who left thoughtful messages or emails about my posts. I have been going through a bit of a low patch the last couple of months and have just not had much motivation to do anything at all.

Apart from the usual work and time stresses, both of my beautiful pups have had some health issues over the last couple of months which has really knocked me flat and I have just been unable to take an interest in anything. First Sugar was diagnosed with a mast cell tumour of the most aggressive form on her inner calf. It was very small but as they needed to take very wide margins to be sure they got it all, she had to undergo some nasty surgery.

This is a type of cancer that commonly affects Bull Mastiffs (and other dogs, especially Boxers). Many dogs get it but in most other breeds it is usually of a fairly low grade and removal is often effective. However, in susceptible breeds it is often very aggressive and fatal.

Sugar had an ultrasound and it had not spread to her lymph nodes or liver, where it usually mastasizes. However, statistically, for a cancer of the grade they removed, the long term prognosis is not good. They recommended she have chemotherapy but even then the prognosis statistically would not be good long term, and as she is prone to allergies and infections, I did not want to put her through a course of treatment that would shut down her immune system. Besides, she is physically healthy and mentally happy and if I am going to lose her, I want her last months or years to be happy, not to be miserable and sick from treatment.

On top of that, I found a lump on Spice I was worried about but as I was a mess with Sugar recovering from surgery, only got that investigated properly three weeks ago. This turned out also to be a mast cell tumour and, being on her hip, was going to be difficult to remove so we were referred to a specialist surgeon.

Spice had surgery on Monday night and because of the location and because her's had indistinct edges, they had to take a much wider margin than with Sugar so she has a massive wound almost 30cm long with about 40 staples in it. It is a ghastly looking surgery, but she is on painkillers and lots of other medication and it doesn't seem to be bothering her too much. She is refusing to rest and recuperate and wants to run and jump around and play. She is supposed to wear a bucket collar to stop her from licking it, but she has learned how to get that off and thinks she is very clever having done so. She is in a little bit of pain as she is a bit more clingy and needing more cuddles than usual, but it isn't stopping her from doing what she wants and it isn't stopping her from being active!

I am supposed to be keeping her confined until her surgery heals but that is near impossible! 

She has also had an ultrasound and her lymph glands and liver are fine at this stage. We need to go back over Christmas to get her stitches and staples out and get the biopsy results which will tell us how aggressive her tumour was.

It has all been a bit of a strain with several vet visits a week for the last couple of months with tests and checkups and surgery and everything else, and wondering how long we have left together. I have pretty much avoided most of pre-Christmas commitments this year, saying no to parties and barbecues etc, just not being in the mood.

But, nasty surgeries aside, both of my girls are happy and feel healthy and playful and energetic and don't feel sick at all, and that is the most important thing. And while the cancer most probably will come back, we can only hope it doesn't do so for a couple of more years at least.