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Everything posted by Pawz4me

  1. We trim our crape myrtles back every year, usually sometime in the fall or early winter. If not they'd get totally out of control. Plus we like to shape them more like trees than shrubs, which requires regular trimming off of lower growth when they're young. It's not likely to cause any more harm if you go ahead and trim the dead places like @Tanaqui described. The peeling bark is normal. If trimming it now worries you then wait a few months and cut it back as far as necessary (or even more if you want to). This time next year you'll be amazed at how much it's grown back.
  2. DS20 is on the spectrum and has GAD. He's on anxiety medication, but he also saw a therapist for awhile. The therapist taught him breathing techniques and other strategies to help him stay calm/keep his anxiety under control. Even with medication there can sometimes be breakthrough anxiety, and it helps a lot to have strategies to deal with it.
  3. I think your vet is right that getting him to eat is the most important thing. You can try the prescription foods again in a few days or a week, after he’s eating better and gets some strength back. I used to know a lady who had a cat with kidney disease. She’d feed him doughnuts, butter, anything to get low protein calories into him. He did pretty well for a long time.
  4. What about mixing in just a little unsalted broth with the food--would that be allowed? When our last cat's kidneys started going I bought a few cans of prescription cat food--two or three of each brand the vet carried. And I tried them until I figured out which one he seemed to like the most. Hopefully your guy will like the other food!
  5. Sorry you're having trouble getting adequate care. That stinks. That's all very helpful. I'm going to come back and re-read it in a bit. I think you're absolutely right about losing perspective about pain, and I think that's at least part of what I was trying to address. I don't trust that I remember what normal feels like. Or maybe not--there's a pretty strong overlap and correlation between fibro and RA. Apparently as many as 30 percent of people with RA will eventually also get a fibro diagnosis, and people with fibro are at significantly increased risk of developing RA. My rheumy casually threw out the possibility that I might have fibro a couple of appointments ago. I tried to ignore that. I don't need anything else, and at least for now I really don't think it fits.
  6. I've never had (or used at any of the rescues I've volunteered with) a washing machine that removes much pet hair. It's the dryer that does 90+ percent of that.
  7. I know! I'm probably just a bit west of you in NC. Humidity is evil. I used to think weather didn't make much difference with RA, but I've changed my thinking on that. I think our joints are like old wooden doors--they never close right, maybe they're always just a wee bit swollen. Add in some humidity and . . .
  8. I've had the same problem. My last iPhone had the fingerprint ID thing and it would not work! I tried both thumbs, placing them on the button just so . . . everything. I thought the phone was defective, until I heard on a morning TV program that loss of fingerprints as one ages is a thing. Who knew? Now I have a newer phone with facial recognition. Hopefully my face won't disappear . . .
  9. I know from current and past threads there are several of us here. I have rambling questions for those of you who've been at this longer than me. I'm not even sure exactly how to word it, so bear with me if you will. I guess the simplest I can boil it down to is -- what are your goals for treatment regarding pain, and how do you describe things so that your rheumy understands? Do you try to get to pain free? Is that even possible, or realistic? Or is it absolutely what I should be shooting for? I'm trying to figure out how to best communicate with my rheumy and how to best advocate for myself. Short history--After having on/off symptoms for about a decade, and having very "on" symptoms that I put on the back burner for months (due to DH's medical issues, mostly) I was diagnosed last year with seropositive RA. I got an appointment with a rheumy relatively quickly, and he started me on methotrexate, added in leflunomide, played around with the methotrexate dosage a bit (mostly because he doesn't think it's helping me). I think he has me listed as stage 2. At my last appointment he mentioned a biologic. When I first started treatment and asked him about goals, his response was "No swollen joints and as pain free as possible." So . . swollen joints are fairly easy. They're either swollen or they're not, a lot or a little. FWIW, one of my PIP joints still is/always has been swollen, and my right elbow is now fairly consistently staying slightly swollen. But how do you quantify "as pain free as possible"? Unless you miraculously got to pain free with the first treatment or two--how would you know when you were "as pain free as possible" without trying them all? I hurt to some degree almost every day. Some more than others, of course, but always something. I've been told all my life by medical professionals that I seem to have a very high tolerance for pain, and I believe that's probably true. So some days I can shove it to the back of my mind and get on with my day. As long as the fatigue is under control I can deal with pain. But -- that's probably not a good approach, as I'm thinking that even without significant swelling pain may indicate increasing joint damage. Which I definitely want to avoid, of course. So, back to the questions -- How do you quantify your joint pain? I hate the grade-your-pain-on-a-1-to-10-scale thing, as I'm a bit afraid that I may be under rating mine plus it's one snapshot he's asking about. What I'm feeling right then, not necessarily what I've felt in general over the last two or three months. Are there any key words that you use with your rheumy to describe your pain or the level? And feel free to use this thread to discuss any other issues or concerns. Maybe we can all learn something.
  10. I've never had a washing machine that didn't wash excellently. Some were more long lasting than others, but all washed fine. That said, after our last front loader developed mold issues almost overnight (despite doing everything right in terms of cleaning cycles, leaving the door ajar, etc.) I decided to go with a top loader. We bought a Maytag HE with an agitator and manual controls almost a year ago, and I like it very much. It's a little noisier than the front loaders were, but it works well. There is a "fill tub" option but I've only used it once to see how it works. The sensor works fine, so I just let it do its thing. I looked at SQs before purchasing but I was majorly underwhelmed, especially considering the price.
  11. We definitely need to get better on figuring out which treatments work for which cancers (and ditto for other illnesses, too). But part of what I was getting at are things we already do know -- Subtype matters. Some are much more treatable than others. Grade matters. There is grading even within stage IV cancer, and a grade 1 or 2 metastatic cancer is much more likely to be fairly easy to control for a longer period of time than a grade 4 cancer. It's very much a big picture decision, not a small, simple picture.
  12. I'd lean toward taking her in. Cats are stoic. By the time you notice signs of not feeling well it's often been going on longer than you think, and they're often sicker than you think. With the weird eyes -- definitely take her in.
  13. It would be great if every cancer patient had an advocate who could and would do the research necessary and be ready to step in when necessary. I think I make a very good advocate, and honestly DH needs it. He's done zero research, wouldn't know the right questions to ask if I didn't prompt him before each appointment, etc. He's not in denial by any stretch of the imagination, but he likes his doctor and he's happy to do what he's told and live each day w/o worrying about the what ifs or whether every little pain might be ominous. And that's great for him. I can do the research and worry about all the other stuff, and I'm glad I can take on that role for him. What everyone should remember, though (IMO of course) is that not all cancers are alike, even the aggressive ones. There are different treatments for different cancers, some of which have pretty much zero impact on quality of life other than the time it takes to get the treatment. Also, to treat or not treat is not a one time decision. It's not as if a patient can't try treatment and see how it goes. You can stop at any time. At every single appointment DH has the doctor asks about quality of life.
  14. I'll throw this out just in case it's helpful to anyone -- In the months before I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism my balance and stability were way, way off. Like when I took the dog for a walk I had to walk in the street instead of on the sidewalk because I absolutely didn't trust myself on all the driveway cut outs and even cracks in the sidewalk (the normal spacing cracks--our neighborhood was fairly new, so there weren't big cracks where it was really unlevel or anything like that). Once medication kicked in my balance and stability improved dramatically.
  15. The oncologists we spoke with, including the one we chose, all handled it with a variation of this: They explained his first line treatment options and followed up with some version of "And if you don't want any treatment--and some patients with this type of cancer certainly do choose to not have treatment--then you probably have about a year before you start experiencing life altering symptoms." Followed by patient silence that they waited for DH to fill. And then the oncologist we chose went on to explain the statistics for the first line treatment--how many people have some statistically significant shrinkage of their mets, how many have stability, and how many have to quit that treatment because their cancer worsens or they experience intolerable side effects. He told us about his own patients' experiences with the drug, including the shortest and longest times it had worked, the most common side effects, etc. It was all very fact based with little/no emotion and certainly no talk of "fighting" or being overly positive, and certainly no rah rah cheerleading. None of the oncologists did that. Pretty much the polar opposite of what you seem to have experienced. We've also had the polar opposite experience in terms of palliative care. Perhaps it's been awhile since your experiences? Or perhaps your experiences were at a not-so-great cancer center? Now it's ALL about the palliative care. And no, being under treatment doesn't rule out palliative care. It's pushed hard. Maintaining quality of life is a huge priority. FWIW, the cancer forum I belong to probably has a couple of hundred active participants, and our experience is not unique at all. Sure people report "bad apple" oncologists sometimes, but it's much more the exception than the rule. But this is a relatively rare type of cancer, and most patients have specialist oncologists. It's not like the much more common cancers (breast, colon, etc.) where any run-of-the-mill, generalist oncologist will have the experience to treat. So that may be a factor, too.
  16. He's coming up on his two-year cancerversary soon, and he's holding his own. We can't complain. Thank you for thinking of us! I do kinda sorta like to keep this my happy place, but I don't mind talking about it. Lots of people don't want to know. They just don't. And shouldn't they have that right? Most good oncologists will either ask outright whether the patient wants to know or not, or (I think) they kind of feel there way around and try to figure it out. And I think to some extent we put too much on doctors. They don't have crystal balls. And cancer therapies have really exploded in the past few years. Immunotherapy and better forms of radiation (which aren't always curative, but can control) have been game changers in lots of ways, and they've changed things so fast that it's hard for statistics to keep up. Keep in mind that five year survival rates are always lagging behind new treatments. Immunotherapy in particular is still so new that the results aren't well reported yet. For some things right now the oncologist don't have good data/statistics to go on. So how could they advise a patient? I agree. I don't like it at all. It implies that if a person loses the battle he or she didn't fight hard enough. But some cancer patients do like it and relate to it, and I say everyone is entitled to use the language they prefer. I'd be careful of using the fighting/battle terminology unless you know how the patient feels about it, though. Some are really offended by it.
  17. DH has metastatic cancer, so this is close to me. There is no cure for any cancer that has metastasized. Doctors may refer to remission, or getting to "NVED" (no visible evidence of disease), but at this point the word "cure" is not one that is used by medical professionals in relation to stage IV cancer. I strongly dislike the terms "gave up" or "giving up." Ugh. it sounds like the person is just passively fading away. Sure, some choose never to pursue treatment. But some stop after realizing that staying in treatment to keep the disease under control is too costly in terms of quality of life. Not only from side effects of medication, but the never ending doctor appointments, scans, surgeries, blood work, managing prescriptions and insurance, and on and on. And just about everyone, unfortunately, has to consider finances. Even with good insurance cancer (and many other chronic illnesses) is incredibly expensive. A very high percentage of people with stage IV cancer declare bankruptcy within a couple of years. There are a few people on the cancer board I belong to (same type of cancer that DH has) who have made the decision to stop treatment, or to never pursue treatment, because of the toll it takes on the family. Long way of saying -- there is much to consider, and unless one has walked in the shoes I wouldn't judge. Unless it's you or someone you are very, very close to then it's not up to you to decide.
  18. One other thought -- I'd think long and hard about how you're most likely to use it. Are you the type who prefers to drive to a destination, set up and stay for a week? Or are you more interested in long, rambling road trips where you stay only a night or two at any given location? If the former then there are some good arguments why a TT or 5th wheel might be best; if the latter then there are some good arguments for why a motor home might be best. Although nothing is written in stone, of course. But how you're likely to use it most is IMO something to really think about, and then weight your decision around that.
  19. Agreed. It's not for the faint of heart, and it's one reason we now have a Class B van! But I'm thinking depending on the set up that towing a long trailer might be just as bad or even worse? IDK One difference is that you can back a trailer or fifth wheel. If you're in a motor home and towing a vehicle with a tow bar you canNOT back up, or at least not more than a very few feet. We did do it successfully one time, maybe five feet. Any more than that and we would have had to unhitch the whole thing, move both vehicles, and then hook everything back up.
  20. Yeah, but if you tow a vehicle with the motor home then you can do the same thing. And a small towed car or SUV is MUCH easier to park in crowded tourist areas than a truck. More pros and cons! ETA: @kfeusse -- is a pretty good forum for all things RV. I'm on there, too, but mostly now I just post in the pet forum.
  21. 5th wheel or travel trailer -- You need a truck (or other adequate vehicle) to pull and be able to safely stop them. For the bigger ones you may need a diesel truck. You have more living room because none is lost to a driver's compartment. Fifth wheels have a separate bedroom area, which gives a bit more privacy. Because it's just the box and not a vehicle the cost per square foot is less for a travel trailer or fifth wheel. Motor home--It's a vehicle (duh) so you don't need to (potentially) go out and buy another vehicle to pull it. Depending on how you use it you may need or want a vehicle to tow behind it. They cost more, and of course there's an extra engine/chassis to maintain. They're fully self contained. If you want to stop for a snack or lunch or to boondock somewhere for the night you never have to step outside if you don't want to (like if it's pouring buckets of rain). If they have hydraulic jacks they can be significantly easier to set up/break down than a pull behind RV (but that's also more that can break). You lose some living space due to the driver's compartment, although you can tun the seats around so all is not totally lost. Most Class As will have an on board genny, which comes in handy for boondocking, stopping for lunch, and if the power goes out at your house (assuming the motor home is stored at your house). Most should be somewhere from reasonably comfortable to just like home, but a bit will depend on how much money you have (or want) to spend. Motor home/trailer beds are notorious for not being comfortable. Whatever you get I'd plan to spend some extra making the bed(s) more comfortable. Often a good memory foam topper will do the trick. Air conditioners in trailers and motor homes can be LOUD. That's something I'd want to check out before buying, to make sure I could tolerate it. None but the smaller travel trailers will be very economical. Motor homes are fuel hogs because they weigh so much and it takes a ton of energy to move them. Our previous Class A averaged 7.5 mpg. Travel trailers and fifth wheels are heavy, too. Don't expect the tow vehicle to get anywhere near its normal mileage. I'm no expert in that regard, but from what I know fifth wheels, despite their looks, are considered easier to pull because so much of the weight rests in the truck bed rather than on the bumper. But again--I'm no expert on that by any means. I'm on fairly solid ground talking about motor homes, though.
  22. Here's an example of a condo at MB (or specifically just south of MB proper). Of course they can vary depending on the complex, but in general it's going to be much more apartment like and much quieter than a hotel.
  23. I have RA. I'm in a bit of a flare at the moment, and conservatively count eight joints that are swollen or aching. I will still do some yoga/stretching today, because not doing it is a losing proposition--I'll be aching/stiff in even more places! What I've had to do is learn on my own, and choose each day what variations of which poses I can do and how long I can hold them safely. I have too much joint involvement to expect an instructor to make adaptations, and IME most of the DVDs/YouTube videos meant for arthritis are jokes (if those people have arthritis--I want that kind!!!). But that's okay. I may not be perfect, but I've learned a lot about how to stretch in ways that make my body feel better. And I find it much more peaceful, relaxing and enjoyable to do things my own way/at my own pace than having an instructor (real or on a DVD) yammering at me to move in a particular way and at a pace that fits their time frame rather than my own. I have toyed with the idea of getting some private yoga instruction, and I may do it eventually.
  24. I've never been impressed by it, either. It stinks and is a mess and does pretty much nothing. Neither did oven cleaner. But I think water quality/composition plays a huge part in what type of gunk one is dealing with and in what works or not to clean it. As far as I can tell our water here is pretty neutral--neither very hard nor very soft. The best remedy for shower/tub cleaning I've found is to stick with Dove body wash. There's no soap scum to deal with.
  25. Not that I actually "like" that it happened to you, but -- 55 was the age everything caved in on me, too. At least the hot flashes (mostly) stopped by then . . .
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