Mammogram

It’s that time again. Mammogram for me. I go faithfully every year. This year I went in on a Monday. The technician was excellent. She was very kind and gentle. She viewed the slides and said they came out good. If there were any issues, I would be getting a call back within a day.

I always get nervous because in 2017 I got a call back before I even got home from the mammogram. I was so scared. They asked me if I could come back right then and there for a few new x-rays on the right side. This was my very first time getting a call back. I was beyond scared and worried.

The technician explained that there was an asymmetrical shape in the right slide. I could see it when the technician showed me. It looked like an oval. She re-did the xrays, and then sent me in for an ultrasound. The ultrasound showed nothing and when the x-rays came back, the radiologist reviewed them and said the asymmetrical shape was a flap of skin and nothing to worry about. It had something to do with the compression and the dense breast tissue.

So going back to the original paragraph, February 2020, I got my mammogram on a Monday. Tuesday early afternoon I received a call on my cell phone. I recognized the phone number right away as it was Baystate. I didn’t want to pick it up but I did. “Hello, this is Sharon” I said …….”Hello Sharon, this is Jaime from Baystate radiology. I wanted to let you know the radiologist saw something on the mammogram that is different from previous films and wants you to come in for another x-ray on your right breast. I started to cry a little. The next available appointment was the following Monday at 1:30 pm. I scheduled the appointment, hung up the phone and really cried. My mind began to race. OMG what if it’s cancer? What if I have to get a mastectomy. Am I going to die? I thought myself into the grave within 5 minutes of getting the phone call. I don’t have will, what about my dogs? Who will care for them when I am dead? I have too many clothes that don’t fit, I have to get my affairs in order.

I had to talk to someone so I called my sister and she talked some sense into me. She reminded me that there are 5 sisters in our family. 4 out of the 5 of us all got called back due to dense breast tissue. She made me feel better and I began to think more rationally. I know I still need a will but the rest can hold off for a week.

I kept myself very busy over the next week. I went for long runs and took the dogs for many walks. I organized my closet, got rid of some clothes that didn’t fit and also donated some things I no longer needed.

Finally, it’s Monday again. I worked 1/2 a day, then drove to the https://www.baystatehealth.org/locations/breast-and-wellness-center

I sat in the car for half an hour because I was early. I prayed, I cried and I then again thought of what my sister said. I got out of the car and walked slowly into the building. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. The office was on the 3rd floor. I took the stairs as it was a way for me to get the anxiety out by walking. I checked in, and within minutes my name was called. A very friendly lady greeted me and explained what was going to happen. I was guided into the room where I changed into a very pretty colored burgundy johnny. It was a one size fits all or as I say fits most. I wrapped it around me twice and tied it tight. It made me feel more secure. The tech was very kind and reassuring. She explained why the test was being redone and was extremely professional. After the test was done, I was placed back in the waiting room with many other women.

I couldn’t help but wonder if they were there for “recalls” or did they have breast cancer? Was their screening routine? It was so very quiet and no one was talking. I sat quietly and prayed.

After about 20 minutes, the technician called my name. I got up and followed her. She brought me back to the room where I originally changed into that burgundy johnny. She shut the curtain partway and she looked at me. I was trying to read her expressions but couldn’t. She finally spoke. She said I have nothing to worry about. The spot the radiologist saw on the original slide was an artifact. ” My brain said “Artifact? The last time I heard that word was in an Indiana Jones Movie? She explained it was most likely movement that cause blurring or it could have been improper compression. I was so relived I shed a few tears and hugged her.

In closing, getting called back after a mammogram doesn’t mean you have cancer. It means there is a difference in the previous xray. It could be a flap of skin, compression or the simple fact as women age, the breast tissue gets displaced with fat. From what I read, only 10% of women get a call back for a repeat mammogram. Most of the call backs have a happy ending like my story.

Lyme Disease In Dogs

As I look back 3 months ago, I can now see all the signs I missed regarding lyme disease in my dog. Usually my dog Pumpkin would eagerly await to be let out of her crate at 5:30 am each and every morning. However now that she is 9 years old she started sleeping a little later, getting out of her crate slower and really taking her time doing the doggie stretch before she went down the stairs to go to the “outhouse”. Her energy level quickly diminished. I was not aware this was most likely not signs of old age in a dog.

A few days ago, she suddenly started limping. She held up her right hind paw and was walking on 3 legs. She also had this shiver about her. She would sit down and just shake. I thought she sprained her leg, had a stone caught in her paw or it was the winter weather here in New England and some snow got in there. I even considered if it was luxating patella. After a day of her limping, she took a visit to the vet where I explained to Doc the chain of events going on.

The vet examined her completely, asked a ton of questions and took a blood test. From the look on Docs face I could tell she had a very good idea what it was. She left the room for 15 minutes to run the test and came back in with the news. Our dog Pumpkin had lyme disease. Prescribed Doxycycline, but that really upset her stomach and she refused to eat which also caused the problem of her not taking her medicine. The medication was quickly changed to Amoxicillin which as of tonight seems to be doing the trick.

At first I was relieved it wasn’t luxating patella but I wasn’t fully aware of the complications lyme can have on a dog. Lyme disease can attack not only the joints but the organs. This little bugger of a micro organism is called Borrelia burgdorferi. Symptoms include but are not limited to: loss of appetite, lethargic behavior, limping, joint pain, fever, swollen joints and the list goes on. It can come on suddenly or slowly rear it’s ugly head over time. Our pets are so good at hiding their pain. In the wild pain and sickness is a sign of weakness. That is why they hide it so well.

If your dog is diagnosed with lyme I would suggest having your Vet also test their organ levels to see how advanced the disease is. Ex: kidneys, liver, pancreatic function.

Our dogs are on the flea and tick prevention. I won’t mention the name of the very expensive cocktail they are on. It obviously doesn’t prevent lyme. It does kill the tick once the tick BITES them and infects the dog.

Advice: Check for ticks every day. Even in the winter. Notice the small progressive signs. Changes in behavior are a key sign. As we humans are so busy many times the pets slow behavioral changes are overlooked. Hiding under things or refusing affection are a big sign. Pumpkin starting hiding under my desk and didn’t want any affection.

Hiding under my desk
Resting after the medication from lyme disease

I have been sleeping with her along with her “friends” lampchops on the dog bed for 4 nights now. I don’t want her to be alone and feel scared or cold. Feeling safe, warm and comfortable is a big part in the healing process.

Thermipaq ICY Cold Pain Relief Wrap

A friend of mine told me about this product. I was having issues with pain in my elbow. It ended up being tendonitis. This product worked tremendously. It’s a flexible, all natural compound made from clay and its leak proof. You simply put it in the freezer and take it out when you need it. It comes with a velcro band which holds super tight and it doesn’t slip. It holds the cold up to 1 hour. It comes in different sizes. I opted for the large so I could also wear it on my lower back. It works well on back, knees, ankles and elbows.

If your in the market for a cold pain relief wrap then the Thermipaq ICY is for you. It’s available at Walmart, Walgreens, Amazon or many other retailers. Walgreens has one that is their brand.

Phillips Sonicare Diamond Clean

My dental hygienist suggested I look into purchasing a Sonicare electric toothbrush. When I had my last cleaning she noticed that my gums looked irritated. She felt it was from aggressive brushing. I do tend to brush aggressively, especially in the morning when I am rushing around getting ready for work and getting all stressed out about being late.

I have never used an electric toothbrush before so I was curious on how it would work. Would it make a difference in the amount of plaque on my teeth? Would it help the recent issue with irritated gums?

After much research I ended up getting the Phillips Sonicare Diamond toothbrush which came with extra brush heads. It removes ten times more plaque than a regular toothbrush. It has 3 intensities and 5 cleaning modes. My favorite option is it shuts off by itself after 2 minutes of brushing. I find myself taking my time brushing and actually enjoy brushing my teeth. I am actually brushing longer than I ever have and my teeth feel so clean and look great. My favorite brush head is the small one. You can really get it way back into those hard to reach places.

It comes with a travel case that keeps your Phillips sonicare diamond toothbrush safe and clean while traveling. The charging stand is very unique. The Phillips sonicare diamond toothbrush sits nicely in a classy looking glass charger. It also comes with a wall charger too.

I have been using the Phillips Sonicare Diamond toothbrush for 3 months now. I recently had an appointment for a routine cleaning. I didn’t tell my hygienist I purchased the Phillips Sonicare Diamond and wanted to see if she noticed the difference. She noticed immediately. She smiled at me and said, “Wow, your gums looks SO MUCH better and three is hardly any plaque.”

The product is available on Amazon and Costco. Costco which is where I purchased mine. Got it on their website with FREE shipping. It came as a 2 count and additional brush heads so my husband has one also.

Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty Can we adopt you?

We found this black and white stray cat in our back yard. It was so very friendly!! It followed us around everywhere the whole day. When we went inside it sat on the top of the front step wanting to come in the house. It was meowing like crazy. I say “it” because i wasn’t sure if it was a male or a female. We immediately posted the lost cat on https://www.pawboost.com/ and also on the local town facebook page.

We took turns feeding him small amounts of chicken. Yes, chicken. The same scrumptious, juicy, delicious chicken my dad had just taken off the rotisserie grill outside. He/she ate it like it hadn’t had a good meal in months. That is why we fed it small amounts so it wouldn’t throw it up.

The cat lingered around from Sunday to yesterday (Tuesday). We knew it was going to get cold outside so we were hoping and praying for news from it’s family. Tuesday came and the cat was still outside on our doorstep. My parents decided to let him in the house because the neighbors Tom cat was trying to attack the kind, sweet, gentle, friendly cat. My dad opened the door and the cat casually walked into the house like he owned the place. He walked down the hallway and laid on the bed in the guest room. After all, he was a guest. When dinner time came around, he woke up from his “catnap” and sat on my dads lap as he was trying to eat his dinner. Just about then, the phone rang. Who could it be? My mom answered the phone and we heard her explaining the we did find a cat……………..Could it be??????? Yes, it was someone that thought it may be their cat. The pet was actually recognized through the Sterling, CT town website / forum. The cat belonged to a family with small children. They recently moved and the cat got out. He (yes HE) had been missing for 6 weeks!!!!! He was at least 3-5 miles from his new home. The owner that called us about the cat described him to a “T”. She said his name is Timmy.


We texted the owner a few more photos and she said she is sure that was him but didn’t want to tell her children until her husband came to see the cat to make sure. And to make a happy story even happier, the cat was in fact their lost cat Timmy.

I was asked to do a follow up email to https://www.pawboost.com/ to answer some questions. They wanted to know:

Q-How were you able to capture the lost pet?
A-We didn’t capture it, he captured us (our hearts) We knew we had to find the owner of this cat. He had a Seresto Flea collar on so we knew where ever he came from the family cared about him.

Q-How were you able to reunite this pet with its owner?
A-We took pictures of the cat and posted it on Pawboost and the Sterling, CT town/forum website. We got many hits from Pawboost and so many shares and comments. People that visit your site are very kind and caring people.

Q-Was PawBoost able to help?
A-Pawboost is a great site to raise awareness of missing pets and also to help reunite the owners with their pets. Although it didn’t help finding this particular cat, I will still use it and visit the site frequently. I travel every day for work in my car 100’s of miles. I am always on the look out for stray animals. When I do see one, I always look at your site to see if I can possibly help.

Q-Would you recommend PawBoost to a friend?

A-Absolutely

Q-A-If so, why?

A-Pawboost is an excellent resource to post and find lost pets. There are so many shares and it can reach millions of people!

I would recommend https://www.pawboost.com/ somehow link their lost and found animals to the city/town where the cat was found through the facebook link such as this one

https://www.facebook.com/groups/322014831475576/

Healing the heart after the loss of a pet

It will be 4 weeks tomorrow at 4:30 pm that we lost our precious Marcus. He was our first dog. I didn’t want to use the word “was” because that means he’s not here anymore. I still sob when I think of him and how adorable, fun, energetic and amazing he was. There’s that word again……….Was. Ugh. Cancer in dogs is so common. I joined a facebook group dogs with cancer and I was shocked at how many dogs are affected by cancer. Is it the food we fed them? How about the pesticides used on the lawns? Even if YOU do not use them, maybe your neighbors do. Their precious little noses are always sniffing the ground and inhaling the toxic chemicals used for pest control and weed control. Could it be genetic? Over breeding?

How do you heal your heart and move forward? Should we rescue another dog? Is it too early? Would I love the new rescue like Marcus? Would it make me feel better? How would bringing another dog into the house so soon affect the other dogs we already have? The only way to answer that question is to move forward. And so we did.

I know Marcus would like us to honor his memory. He is the one who inspired us to rescue dogs. We started in 2009 rescuing dogs and donating time and money to the shelters because of his sweetness and fun personality.

Here is the newest rescue. His name is Prince Harry. We adopted him from a local breeder that is retiring the dog. They were very picky (as they should be) in who they gave him to. We were luck enough to be chosen. I here by announce the new member of our household….Prince Harry, King Charles Cavalier

He is so different than the terriers that we have rescued. He is more calm, has a bit of separation anxiety however he is getting much better with each and every passing day.

I know our Marcus would be proud of us for helping yet another dog. I will miss my boy forever and 2 days. And yes, I am crying now .

My Best Friend Marcus

I can’t believe it’s been 11 years since we first met. I remember December of 2008, seeing you in an enclosed area with your siblings. 3 adorable puppies; 2 females and 1 male. I smiled viewing the puppies and I said out loud “Which one of YOU wants to go home with US?”

Marcus as a small puppy 10 weeks old.

You looked up, and walked cautiously toward us. You put your little tiny paws up on the enclosure and licked my hand. I picked you up and you snuggled inside my coat. It appears you have chosen us to be your humans. You were so tiny I could fit you in the palm of my hand. You slept close to me snuggled in my coat for the 1 hour ride to your new home.

We named him Marcus. He is a Morkie which is a hybrid breed. It’s a cross between a Maltese and a Yorkie. Morkies have beautiful hair. They are small dogs that are jam packed full of energy with a ton of personality. He is the king of the house.

He has the best doggie life any dog can imagine. He goes everywhere with us. The beach, Gramma & Papa’s house, rides to the gas station and so many walks I can’t even count the miles. He can run so FAST. He is like a mini lightening bolt. He even sleeps with us every night. He snuggles up behind my head on top of my pillow leaving me about 1/4 of the pillow.

The best thing about Marcus is he lead to us rescuing 4 other dogs. You see he was bored with us humans after a while and needed some 4 legged friends to play with. We rescued Riley, Amber Rose, Charlie and Pumpkin all within the 11 years we had Marcus.

Marcus has had his fair share of health issues. His first one was gastritis. He was only 2 years old. He recovered from that but continued to have digestive issues on and off. The second issue was a cough. He was diagnosed with kennel cough a few times then at one point it was realized he had a trachea collapse issue. He was 9 at that time.

Why am I writing about Marcus? I am writing this tonight as our Marcus is very ill. He has been diagnosed with cancer. He has a mass in his abdomen that has spread to his lungs. His heart is enlarged too. He is on steriods and a diuretic to keep the fluid from building up inside him. We are keeping him comfortable; however the past few days he has shown us he is not going to get better and is deteriorating. He will no longer jump onto the couch, walk up the stairs or scratch at the door to go out to pee. I carry him outside to go to the bathroom. He is eating less and less. He is so sweet and is still wagging his tiny little tail when we talk to him and pet him.

I purchased a dog stroller to take him for walks because he can’t make it to the end of the driveway without sitting down and resting. He LOVES the stroller and really looks forward to his 2 walks a day with me. I also snuggle him up in his pet bed and I walk with him outside in my arms talking to him. I cried alot over the past 6 weeks. I cried when I held him, talked to him and when it was time for bed I cried.

I explained to him that he is very sick and he needs to get better or he will be going to heaven. I told him several times a day how much I love him and how much I will miss him when he is gone. I could see it in his eyes he knew his time was limited. I cried way more than I should have holding him and talking to him, but I couldn’t help it. He’s MY boy.

I can’t imagine my life without him. I am thankful he is still with us and I am enjoying every day like there is no tomorrow.

That no tomorrow came on Thursday July 25th. He wouldn’t take his medicine and decided he didn’t want any more food. We called the vet and she said to bring him in. I walked him out into the back yard holding him in my arms. We stopped and smelled the stargazer lily’s we both loved to smell. I explained to him what was going to happen. I asked Marcus if he would come back to me and tell me his was okay. I said, “Show me a cloud shaped like a dog, or come to me in a dream and tell me you are okay, please baby boy give me some kind of sign so I know you made it”.

We got into the truck with Marcus’s favorite blue bed and he snuggled with me for about 20 minutes into the 1 hour ride to the vet. I was petting him and talking to him. As I gazed down at him, I felt him leave. He was not breathing and his temperature dropped. I looked at my husband with tears streaming down my face and I said “He’s gone, our boy is gone”. I placed my fingers over his eyes to close them. I told him I LOVE YOU MARCUS and I will MISS YOU.

Just like the first day we met him and he picked us out, he left the same exact way. He passed away snuggled in my arms.

I cried the rest of the way to the vet’s office. I opened the door to the vets office and walked him in. I held him so close for the last time and kissed him goodbye.

1 day later I saw this in the sky. On the right hand side just above the puffy cloud is a terrier like looking dog. Maybe it’s my imagination or it is really Marcus telling me he made it.

I will miss you forever times forever into infinity. Thank you for picking us to be your humans

Honda CR-V Break and Rotor Problems

In 2017 I purchased a new 2016 left over Honda CR-V with no miles on it for my daughter. It’s been a dependable and reliable form of transportation for over 2 years. It’s great on gas and it has plenty of room.

In June of 2019 with ONLY 21,000 miles on the vehicle, there was an issue with rear brakes. I recently noticed a scraping sound when applying the brakes. I took it into the dealer to have it checked out. It also needed an inspection sticker so I figured I’d get both done at the same time.

The mechanic told me that I needed a new rear rotor, caliper and brake pads. He said the caliper seized causing premature damage to the rotor and the pads. I asked him why does a caliper seize and why didn’t any of the others seize? The mechanic rattled off many reasons why this would happen. #4 is my favorite reason. Really? Bad luck? No one I know that has a Honda CR-V ever had any issues with brakes or bad luck. Here are the reasons I was given:

#1. Excessive Break Dust

#2. Driving with the emergency brake on

#3. Vehicle sitting for too long

#4 Bad luck

#5 Poorly lubed brakes

#6 A rock or stick got caught in the brakes causing them to seize.

#7. The mechanic said he sees this all the time and he suggested I have the brakes cleaned & lubed every 10,000 miles to prevent this happening in the future.

I asked to see the damage with my own eyes. I viewed the damage and it was in fact damaged. My question is WHY did the caliper seize up? I wasn’t convinced all the reasons the mechanic was telling me. The vehicle only had 21,000 miles on it and I DON’T drive with the emergency brake on. I mean really, who does that?

After a long conversation about warranty and defective calipers, I lost the battle and had to fork out $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to pay for the full repair.

Being unsatisfied with the outcome of the dealer, I called Honda directly. I was on hold the 1st time for 18 minutes. Finally someone answered and asked me my name and then the phone got disconnected, like someone hung up on me. I called back and the same thing happened. I was not happy! After 20 more minutes, I was able to speak to someone who told me that the seized caliper was normal wear and tear and not covered under warranty. I asked the customer service rep WHY would only (1) caliper seize if it was NORMAL wear and tear. She had no answer for that. At least she didn’t say it was BAD LUCK! I know many people with Honda CR-V’s who have 124,000 miles and guess what? NO BAD LUCK with the calipers. A few of them have the original brakes! I also spoke to several mechanics who stated that’s extremely abnormal; however the dealer mechanic I went to said he sees this all the time. If that is true, why wouldn’t it be covered under warranty or a recall? Doesn’t seem right does it?

Does anyone else out there have a Honda CR-V or any Honda with rear caliper issues? Please respond.

Auto Immune Disease In Dogs Genetic Correlation? Puppy Strangles

Strangles. What on earth is that? Auto Immune Disorder

It is an autoimmune disorder in puppies. Symptoms occur between 3 weeks to 4 months of age. If left untreated it results in severe scaring and in rare cases, even death. Breeds susceptible to the disease include golden retrievers, Mini Daschshounds & Siberian Husky’s. It is not contagious and unlikely to recur once treated properly and quickly. With the combination of prednisone and an antibiotic, it will give your puppy the best chance for a full recovery.

The disease is also called juvenile cellulitis. The symptoms are as follows; swollen face, eyes, muzzle, sores on face, inside ears, mouth, and in severe cases it affects the anus and genital area. The sores may burst and crust over. If it involves the puppy’s ears, they will smell very foul. The puppy’s lymph nodes are also affected. Other symptoms are fever, poor appetite, and lethargy. Your puppy may also experience joint pain.

When diagnosing a puppy with strangles, It can sometimes be tricky because it does look like a staph infection which is a bacterial infection. To get an accurate diagnosis make sure your Vet takes a swab of the areas infected and examine it. Make sure it’s not mites, ringworm or any other skin issue or allergy.

8 Week Old Lab/Doodle Puppy. She had sores everywhere! Ears, nose, eyes, and all over her “private area”.

SONY DSC

Treatment involves aggressive autoimmune drugs, antiobiotics, to prevent secondary bacterial infections, and its very important to keep all lesions clean and dry. Ask you vet about a hydrogen peroxide diluted solution to keep the infected areas clean.

When your puppy is on the steroid, they will experience stronger than usual hunger. It’s a side affect of the medication. Some people will give them a little more food than usual, but NOT ALOT MORE. It’s important to keep him/her comfortable after all they are just babies and so dependent on their new owners. Keep the cone head on when ever possible. Excessive licking only adds to the problem.

The more I research this “RARE” issue in Labradoodle, the more I see people posting the same type of stories, so how rare is this actually?

This particular dog is much better now. She is 8 months old now and feeling and looking much better. She is no longer on steroid or any medicine. The condition was caught very early.