Monday, April 27, 2009

The Difference between Cushing's Disease and Addison's Disease... big. But they are related in that they both are related to the amount of cortisol that is produced by the body, or in the case that I am most familiar with, the body of my sweet little dog Sadie.

Sadie was diagnosed with Cushing's Disease a few months ago. After several tests over the course of nearly 4 months, the confirmed diagnosis said that she had Cushing's. When we were to begin treatment in March, Sadie came down with a bladder infection, and then she got Kennel Cough, and finally she was well and we could begin therapy a week ago.

The standard therapy is to do what is called a "loading dose" of the medication Lysodrene, look for changes in Sadie's symptoms, do a test to see if her cortisol is at the correct level, and then put her on a maintenance dose. The trick is the directions on the Lysodrene are pretty scary. Lysodrene is considered a chemotherapy tablet, so it is attacking parts of Sadie's body as it works.

Sadie started Lysodrene last Tuesday and her behavior changed (i.e., she slept through the night) on Friday night. On Saturday she went into Noah's for her ACHT test to see if she was at the correct level of cortisol. We stopped the medicine at that point, and we were waiting for the results. Only thing is, Sadie went into "crisis" (as defined by the directions I was given by Noah's) on Sunday. I called into Noah's on Sunday evening and they directed me to start Prednisone therapy for Sadie to bring her out of crisis.

Sadie still had the symptoms of the Lysodrene overdose ("crisis") on Monday evening, so I took her into Noah's they did another blood test, and we're continuing the Prednisone therapy for the next 10 days.

But this is the weird part about the Cushing's/Addison's connection. So, the Dr. explained that Sadie probably only overdosed by about one dose, but now has really no cortisol at all (her level is .2 and is supposed to be anywhere from 1 to 4). I guess the way this works is that the overdose may have killed off part of Sadie's pituitary gland which has resulted in an Addison's like state. Hence the treatment of Prednisone to bring the cortisol to a more normal level.

So, it gets even stranger...the Dr. said there were three possibilities that could result from this overdose: 1.) Sadie's pituitary gland has been damaged by the Lysdorene and will never produce enough cortisol for her in the future, and Sadie will now be diagnosed with Addison's Disease instead of Cushings; 2.) After the Prednisone therapy, Sadie will go back to her "normal" state of Cushing's and her levels of cortisol will be elevated. At that point she will be able to go on the maintenance dose of Lysodrene; or, 3.) And this is the weird one...the Lysodrene has killed off the perfect amount of Sadie's overactive pituitary gland and after the Prednisone therapy, she will be a normal dog, no Cushing's, no Addison's.

The Dr. went on to explain that some "old School" vets do the overdose on purpose to kill off the pituitary gland and treat the Addison's Disease because it is easier to treat and control. I'm just amazed that what could have been a mistake, may be something that actually means she may not need medication in the future. I expect that is a big long shot, but who else could it happen to other than the Lucky Girl and the Lucky Dog.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Mutt Strut, Feeding of the Bears, and a new home for Blossom

Today, Trevor, Tiger and I participated in the Indianapolis Mutt Strut at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What a beautiful day! And so many dogs. This is a very cool event, I only wish we had more time to spend at the track. Tiger was exhausted when we got home and is still napping in his chair. There were 2 courses to walk, a short course and a the whole track. We did not have time to make it around the whole track because we had another activity this afternoon as well. All in all, we raised $320 for the Humane Society of Indianapolis, and got some very cool pictures.

After strutting, we had to take Tiger home for his nap and then Trev and I headed over to the Indianapolis Zoo, where my sister had set up a "behind the scenes" tour of the bear exhibit. We were able to see what the bear enclosure looks like in the back area, where the keepers have their offices, and where the "indoor" areas are. The area where we were able to stand was very small. They had a yellow line painted on the floor and all visitors had to stay behind that line. One of the keepers explained that one of the bears used to "charge" the fences, but didn't do that anymore. What was amazing to see up close was the feet and paws of the bears. The bears will continue to grow to be somewhere near 1000 pounds.

The last activity of the day was one I don't have a picture for, but I really wish that I did. I have been volunteering for Kentuckiana Boxer Rescue, and we were able to find a home for Blossom the Boxer today. Blossom is a beautiful girl who was at a shelter but has now found a home in Avon. She is a sweetie that gives the Boxer kisses that I remember from my dogs Cali and Rocky. For some reason, Tiger and Sadie are not that kissy. Some would say that is an advantage, but it is good to be reminded about those boxer kisses every once in a while.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lawn Care Season

I'm so happy that the weather has changed. I'm ready to plant things and this weekend there is some mulch that will be distributed amongst the shrubbery along the front of my house. I think it is too early to plant, but the beds can be prepped so that they'll be ready when the Mother's Day planting comes around.

Sometime late last year my neighbor hired a lawn guy to cut his lawn and trim the weeds weekly. By that time I think it was August and I was tired, so I hired the same guy to do the "public" area of my lawn. I'm on my own in the doggie's yard. I know it seems like a weird set-up, but with the way I have my gates secured, that is just how it has to work. So every week, the "Lawn Mower Man" visits and for $20 does the front and alley grass and the weed trimming. Pretty good deal.

The Lawn Mower Man has been a great stress reliever. I always worried about how my yard looked to my neighbors. On my own, I did what I had to do in the time that I had to do it. Which means some weeks a weed trimmer was used, and others it was not. Also, depending upon the time of year, my allergies would kick in and it would take me forever to get everything done. Now, I can do the back yard pretty quickly without breaking out. I also don't have to worry about what the neighbor's think if I'm a little late getting it done.

The thing is, I talked to a friend at work once who said "You shouldn't waste your time doing the things that you really don't enjoy doing." And while that seems like easy enough to say, it is a wonderful thing that the $20 a week has done for me. I still work in the yard some, but last year I focused more on the flowers and they actually looked decent. In years past, I spent so much time on the grass and trim work that I was not worried about flower beds at all. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed planting flowers and taking care of them. This year, I plan to plant more. I also plan to take more bike rides and swim more.

So, the funny thing is, I have let the doggie's yard go too long this spring. It hasn't had it's first cut and tomorrow will be the third cut on the front yard. So, today, being the loser that I am for not keeping up with the grass, I had to take the weed trimmer and take the top off of the grass so that I can think about running the lawn mower over it tomorrow. For a lawn cut with a weed trimmer, it doesn't look all that bad, but it is definitely not good either. We'll see if this technique works.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I am Tiger Woods

I hit a real golf ball with a real golf club today for the first time in my life. For my first non-mini-golfing experience, I actually did okay. My friend who is a pretty good golfer (he has hit a hole in one!) took me to a driving range and told me how to hold the club and where to stand and coached me through it.

My big fear was that I would keep swinging and totally miss the ball every time. During the session I totally missed the ball less than 10 times. So for a first day, I count it as a win. Now, much like my softball swing, I tend to pull the ball and hit straight down the third base line no matter where I think I'm aiming. That would be the frustrating part if I was on a real golf course.

I'm ready for another trip to the Golf Dome.

Ahhhhhh.......Memory Foam

Remember last October when I wrote about the two things I needed to make me happy? So, the coffee machine was obviously covered, but the Memory Foam took a while longer. For a little over a week now, I've been sleeping on the most comfortable bed. My bed without memory foam is comfortable, but with the memory foam is out of this world. It enables me to sleep on my back without any pain.

I'm pretty sure Tiger likes it too. Above he's giving me his "But I don't want to get up" face.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Florida Vacation

We got back from Florida 2 weeks ago. It seems so long ago, even though at times I still feel like I am driving through Alabama. It was a really good vacation. Actually, my kind of vacation where you swim everyday, eat well, do some activities, but also get lots of rest.

The week we were in Panama City was sort of on the rainy side. All days but one were "double red flag" days, meaning the waves were so rough we couldn't get in the water. It also was raining a couple of days. Luckily, the place we were staying had an indoor pool.

One of the exciting activities was going on a boat ride on The SeaScreamer! It was a great boat, that holds nearly 100 people and takes cruises out in the Gulf along the Panama City Beach shoreline. The greatest thing was that we pretty much had a private cruise. The seven of us were joined by one other family of 3 (from Houghton Lake, Michigan). We saw so many dolphins! And Trevor and Halie got to drive the boat.

It was a great week.

The day we went on the boat was a "double red flag" day. The waves were really rough. The SeaScreamer feels like it is going really, really, fast. This is Trevor holding on tight at the front of the boat, keeping an eye out for dolphins.

You may not be able to see them, but there are 6 Dolphins in this picture. Try to click on it to make it bigger.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Boy is a Star!

Never say never, BUT I really doubt you'll see me on You Tube anytime soon. But not my boy Tiger!!

Thanks to the good people at The Lucky Dog Retreat, Tiger is a You Tube star in this video, along with his friend Riley. Tiger is known as the "King of the Puppies" at Lucky Dog, because he plays with the little ones so well.

I'm so proud!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Return of The Lucky Girl

I checked the date of my last post, and it seems like it has been longer since I posted. Some stuff has been going on, but mainly I think I just needed to unplug for a while. And now I definitely have updates to share, so here we go...

One of the things that started my "unplugging" was a need to be a little more focused on just me. I went in for my yearly check up in February and there was some blood work numbers that were off and had the doctor a little concerned. And so, I have had some need to focus on that, and I also had a pretty big project going at work.

Some of you know that I have been on thyroid medication for about 9 years, and maybe some of you don't. I have low thyroid, which ties directly into my energy level. There are times that I used to feel so sluggish that I would say, "I think I have been drugged". You know, that kind of feeling where you almost can't keep your head up. I haven't actually felt that way in a while, but my doctor wondered if I had any energy at all based upon the blood work numbers that he was seeing.

Before I go any further, everything is okay. The doctor did change my medicine and I've been trying to watch what I eat, making sure to get enough fruits and vegetables. I also haven't missed a dose of medicine, which is really good for me. I actually do feel better, and the blood work numbers are now back in range. So, I will keep at it, and more blood tests come next month. I think that the doc is just going to monitor everything for a while.

And so, there is more to catch up on, but I'm going to hold for now. A vacation update will be posted this week for sure, so catch you later.