Loss of a Fur-Family Member

We’ve been devastated by the sudden loss of our main man Brodi last Friday 12/29/17.

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About a week before Christmas we noticed that he hadn’t been eating very much food and that he looked skinny.  We took him into the Vet on the Friday before Christmas and found out he had lost 15 lbs.  Otherwise all the blood work, urine analysis, xrays, stool samples, etc… came back looking normal.  We thought it was just a bug or some kind of food aversion he had suddenly developed.

Fast forward to after the holiday weekend and we got a second opinion at another Veterinary clinic in the area and they did some additional tests and an ultra sound.  The results were devastating.  Brodi’s stomach lining was 5 times the thickness it should have been.  A normal health stomach would have three different layers in their stomach, but in his xrays there was only one layer because another type of cell had taken over everything (cancer).  His pancreas was also inflamed and had cysts inside of it. His gallbladder was backed up and full of the toxic sludge that should not be just sitting there.  The stomach had become so inflamed that it had pinched off the passageway for the Gallbladder to empty into the stomach.

We found all this out on the Thursday after thanksgiving.  We talked about surgery and quickly ruled it out.  The odds of finding something curable were low; and the odds of him recovering from that kind of exploratory surgery (which likely involved removing the pancreas and gallbladder) were even lower.  We were told he had days or weeks left… it all depended on his ability / desire to eat food.

We had a goal of him eating three and a half to four cans of wet food per day.  The entire following Friday he ate nothing.  No begging, pleading, or trying to put the food in his mouth… would work.  He was laying around and sleeping most of the day, but not interested in eating.  I called the Vet and we had to make the decision to say goodbye to Brodi before he starved to death or the cancer started to spread and cause him more discomfort or pain.

Brodi was so excited to see his leash come out that he got up and danced around for the first time in days… it broke our hearts.  It was almost our undoing.  We didn’t want to say goodbye to our sweet soul.  However logic won out through streaming tears of emotions and we took him in.

The Veterinary Clinic in Lodi could not have been more thoughtful, caring and accommodating.  They made what was easily the hardest decision I’ve made to date… as easy as it could have been.  Right at the end the Vet turned to me and reassured us that we were doing the right thing.  We both broke down into tears and said our final goodbyes.

I don’t think I can properly put into words the physical and emotional heartache this has caused us.  He was dealt a bad hand.  He was the best and sweetest dog.  The scariest part was having really no warning (that we noticed) that cancer had taken up residence in our dog and had gotten so bad.

He was a part of our story, our daily lives, or future plans and I will forever be grateful for the time we got to spend loving him, receiving love from him and having him in our family.  He would have been 9 in June this year.

We’ve cried at least once every day since we said goodbye.  It will be quite a while before I can look back with just smiles and not smiles and tears.

This is responsibility we take on when we accept a fur child into our lives.  It was hard, but everything that came before it made it worth it.

We will never forget him… and always love him.

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Prompt 11 – What would you do if you loved yourself unconditionally?

If I loved myself unconditionally… I would definitely be more comfortable in my body.

I spend so much time wasting precious brain cells trying to be comfortable in my body where it is in this moment in life.  Logically I know that it is a waste of time, but I think there is something to be said about the technology at our fingertips and the images we are inundated with.  So, while I think I look fine… then I look at Pinterest to get ideas for work outfits and feel like 90% of the results wouldn’t look good on someone who has such a fondness for Wine and Nutella…. like myself.

So, I’ve actually been making this a focus of mine lately (not wine and Nutella… because that’s always a focus of mine).  I’ve been focusing on being more grateful to my body and what it can do for me.  I would like to spend my time focusing on this deliciously adventurous thing called life…. than focusing on losing a couple inches in middle section of my body.

So… here’s to playing with balance and priorities and landing somewhere in the middle.

Prompt 10 – What does unconditional love look like for you?

**Playing catch up on these prompts on this beautiful rainy fall morning.**

What does unconditional love look like to me?

It looks like my dogs.  They love me every day.  They don’t care if I’m hangry, hormonal or having some other human experience.  They are excited to see me every day.  They will cuddle with me even if I was a jerk five minutes ago.  They make me laugh and smile.

The love they show me is contagious.  It makes me want to be a better human for them.  When I’m mad because I’m cleaning up dog fur… for the seventh time that day because Huskies are always shedding, or I’m cleaning up poop or pee because one of them has a serious anxiety problem when it comes to fireworks… I just remember that they would love me if I pooped on the floor or was shedding all over.

In all seriousness, my dogs are a great example of unconditional love every day.  I hope to be more like them when I grow up.

Prompt 3 – Two moments I’ll never forget in my life are… Describe them in great detail, and what makes them so unforgettable.

Moment 1:  Standing in the Barn during my wedding late at night.

I took one moment to stand apart from everyone and take in the moment.  Thinking to myself… this is MY day.  And just being filled with such gratitude and joy for all the people who made that day the BEST day.  I will never forget standing there and being filled with such pure love and joy.

Moment 2:  Pep talk from my cousin Carmen

I was at a high school dance.  I had been shut down or pushed out of a group and was feeling bad about myself.  My cousin Carmen came over and gave me the best pep talk.  She basically let me know that I was awesome and everyone else’s opinion did not matter (she used shorter words that rhymed with curse words… or maybe they were just curse words).  Long story short… someone who I loved and admired told me I was worth all the awesomeness.

I know the challenge is to write two moments, but I have so many.  So many special memories of my amazing family. Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Siblings and Parents… have all blessed me with their time and love.  I am a blessed human and having to choose just two moments reminds me how very blessed I am… because I have HUNDREDS of special moments.

Tis the season!

Wrapping up one year and looking forward to the next. What an interesting process. I remember many years where I couldn’t wait for the fresh start that a new year would bring. Funny how optimistic I always am at this time of year considering I live in Wisconsin and the new year just means 4 more months of cold weather. 

This year however I am just truly thankful and blessed to have experienced all the days in this year so far. I’ve experienced so much growth in so many areas. 

This year marked 5 years of togetherness with my husband and 2 years of marriage. It has seriously flown by.  I’m so thankful for us and hope we continue to share many more trips around the sun together. 

I attended a life and business coaching group for 9 months out of the year that totally changed my perspective on many areas of my life. It’s helped me declutter, repriorotize, rediscover and challenge my thoughts and beliefs. 

I enjoyed my 2nd full year of consulting on my own. It’s been such a rewarding experience and opportunity to work on different projects with different people. Definitely a different kind of education. I’ve really started to appreciate and acknowledge what I can add to a team and project. Being my own cheerleader has been such a blessing. 

My step-son turned 14 and watching him grow and discover himself is something I’m thankful to be a part of every day. He’s such a blessing and gives me perspective and many learning experiences. 

We spent the year focusing on our finances and now find ourselves debt free (except for our home). This is such a freeing accomplishment and it takes so much pressure of our career choices and really allows us to enjoy our 9-5’s more since we don’t feel trapped by them. 

I was diagnosed with Ménière’s disease in August. An inner ear disorder that causes ear ringing, vertigo and nausea. By cutting out caffeine and sodium I’ve managed to control the symptoms (and my anxiety around the sparadic nature of the episodes). So, yay. 

I traveled to Napa (CA), Orlando (FL), Mexico, Lake Placid (NY), Door County (WI), Rockville (MD) and of course Cleveland and Cincinnati for work. I enjoyed every trip and was lucky enough to spend time with great people and make wonderful memories at each location. Not to mention some good food too. 

We took down a wall (thanks HGTV for the words “open concept”, repainted most of the main level, filled a dumpster of crap to declutter the house, and put in new vinyl wood planks instead of the old carpet. 

I started and cancelled a wine club. I started and cancelled a fitness subscription. I gave up giving up Nutella. 

And so many other wonderful things… with wonderful people. 

With only two weeks left in this year, I have nothing but gratitude and love for 2016 and can only imagine what 2017 will bring… and I look forward to finding out.