My Furry Children

When a Furry Child Gets Sick

My Hank is sick. We were at Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Sarasota for the second time in three days. He wasn’t eating, drinking, or doing any typical doggy activities. We thought maybe it was because he swallowed part of a chicken drummie three days ago on a night walk. He was too fast for me, but I got some of it away from him. He seemed to be doing better after our first visit where he got fluids by IV and an antibiotic. But he never started drinking water except when I put it in with his ID food. They started by checking him for pancreatitis. And then they found something we weren’t prepared for.

Hank has been diagnosed with hemolytic anemia (AIHA, IMHA). According to Be Aware Of Dog Autoimmune Diseases from Animal Awareness Magazine, IMHA “disorder can be associated with bone marrow failure. Affected animals have one or more of the following signs: lethargy, anorexia, pale mucous membranes, weakness, exercise intolerance, tachycardia (rapid heart rate), tachypnea (rapid breathing), icterus (jaundice), hemoglobinuria (hemoglobin pigment in urine) and fever. Prognosis is guarded to poor with reported mortality rates between 28% and 70%.” Grim findings for our Hank. The vet asked us all kinds of questions about recent vaccines, ingested metal, ticks, and possible toxin exposure. We could think of nothing and we provided all of his recent vet records. We were at the vet for 10 hours. We were given options of which one involved one or more blood transfusions. We talked about his quality of life. We cried as we discussed what we should do. We were told without transfusions, he wouldn’t last 48 hours. After consulting with our vet in Sylvania, Ohio, and the vet at Blue Pearl as well as the vet technician, we decided that he needed to have X-rays to rule out masses, tumors, and metal of any kind, and the vet wanted to check his PCV level to see if it went down since this morning. It stayed the same, so with a shot of prednisone, IV fluids, and Plavix, Hank came home with us tonight. 

Tonight is going to be tough for us and I have to watch Hank for signs of his anemia worsening and a possible stroke. Not a happy time. I pray I have better news to share soon. He’s one of our babies, and we love him so much. 

Healthy Eating

A Little Sun Goes a Long Way

I’ve been in Florida for over a week and I have noticed things. I don’t feel achy as much in a warmer climate. I am walking every day like I do in Toledo, and I am not walking as far.  My furry children can only go so far in this heat (mostly 80s since I arrived), but walking in the morning and late afternoon provides me with some sun. I forgot how a little sun can make me feel. I go to the beach every couple days, use sunscreen, and never stay over an hour. The sun is like Prozac.

I like how a little sun makes me look better, too. I will never tan again as I have spent too much time at my dermatologist, but I forgot the sun uplifts my spirits and gives my pastie white skin a glow. More than that and it would age me more than my 59 years and who wants that. I have seen so many people my age and older with tans like I had in my twenties.

I have actually lost weight in the last week and I think that can be attributed to both the energy my light sun exposure gives me and my continuing to eat wholes grains, fruit, vegetables,  and no meat, fish, or chicken. As I noted in Eating Healthily is Easy in Venice, Florida, I have been able to find healthy choices at restaurants in the area. Saltwater Grill, Cafe Evergreen, and Pop’s Sunset Grill offer vegetarian options, but the tastiest and healthiest so far is Cafe Evergreen.

I am now drinking matcha green tea for all of its health benefits, but according to 7 Things You Should Know about Matcha, one needs to be aware of things of which I was unaware like a cup of it is comparable to a cup of coffee. I am very sensitive to caffeine, so I don’t drink Matcha after 4 pm. Read the article for concerns about lead as well. I love it hot with a wedge of lemon. It gives me energy and maybe I will even try meditation.

Healthy Eating

Eating Healthily is Easy in Venice, Florida

My furry children and I are enjoying great weather and getting the lay of the land in Florida. Today, I had an amazing meal at Cafe Evergreen in Venice. I started out with hot Organic Matcha Green Tea that had a little agave in it. It was a new experience for me and an easy way to get more antioxidants. The flavor hooked me. I plan on purchasing the brand they use at the Venice Farmers Market. The description on the Cafe Evergreen website states, “Organic sandwiches, salads, smoothies & wine served in charming digs with a mellow vibe.” I had lentil soup, roasted cauliflower, and an avocado wrap. Even the wrap was multigrain. Everything was pleasing to my palate. I will be going back to try other items soon. I am also going to do more research on the benefits of drinking organic matcha green tea. It supposedly helps with inflammation, focus, and weight loss.


This was the first of many vegan/ vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the Nokomis/Venice area. I can’t wait to try more.

working out

Easing Up

I was on a roll. I was running on my treadmill regularly in addition to walking, but then my iliotibial bands started screaming. I iced them, stretched them, worked on strengthening them, but I kept working out. After three nights of awful sleep, I called my GP. Other than physical therapy, the only thing I can do is rest my hips and knees. I have done physical therapy and still have sheets of exercises, so I will continue to do some of those every day.

I took three days off and did a little walking on the treadmill today. I plan on walking and running on the treadmill on Sunday. Hopefully, as long as I don’t over do it, I can continue to build up my running, and get back to trail running. I was up to 50 minutes of running, but that was too much for my hips.

Starting next week, I will be in Florida for a month. The warmer weather should help and I will be walking everywhere. I hope to find some trails for running and walking.

working out

Working on Weightloss

The holidays are over, so I peeked at my scale two weeks ago and noticed I packed on a few pounds.

My game plan is to continue my vegetarian eating, but I need to eat fewer carbohydrates, especially non-whole grain choices. Too many desserts and white flour goodies passed these lips, and the scale shows it. I know my metabolism has slowed way down since I went off HRT two years ago, but sugar and white flour do it no good. I have stopped eating cheese as much as possible, and I now use a powdered coconut creamer for my coffee as well as ask for unsweetened almond milk when I get lattes at Starbucks. If you haven’t tried their new blonde expresso, you must. Almond milk makes lattes so creamy and foamy. My going toward vegan is to reduce inflammation, and I have noticed a big reduction after just giving up meat, fish, and chicken. However, going completely dairy free has been a process. I now use almond milk for cooking as well. I used coconut milk for the first time last night when I made lentil soup with a bit too much freshly squeezed lemon. It made even creamier than it was already as well as helped reduce the lemon.

I have also ramped up my workouts to include running on the treadmill. I started at 20 minutes and am now up to as long as 50 minutes. I am still walking dogs and am using the treadmill at least five days a week when I don’t let my lazy butt talk me out of it. After spending more time than needed, I figured out how to convert my audiobooks to MP3 files, and I put two on my waterproof MP3 player, so I have no excuse to not snorkel swim (swimming, dog paddling, anything to get across the pool with a snorkel mask as I can’t move my neck well enough to swim without it) a couple times a week). I added some arm and leg workouts on machines at the gym, too.

Although I was titrated off Lyrica a month after I went vegetarian, four months later, I have been experiencing pain in my hips when I sleep. I had the same thing before I was on Lyrica, which my doctor attributed to fibromyalgia, so I’ve started stretching my iliotibial bands. My IT bands have been tight for years, and frequent massages help, but now that I am running again, I need to do whatever I can to avoid pain. Lyrica helped with my fibro pain, but the point of going vegetarian was to reduce inflammation and get and stay off as much medicine as I can. I started getting Thai massages, which are even more intense than myofascial release massages I had. I know my going vegetarian has helped my body, from my head to my shins (all places I hurt when my fibro kicks up), but I need to avoid sugar and see where that takes me.

It has been two weeks, and I am slowly taking off the extra pounds from the holiday, but after working out tonight, I couldn’t help but dive a bag of spinach and kale tortilla chips, whole grain and certified organic, of course. You can get them at Costco and they are awesome!

working out

Workout Wear That won’t Break the Bank

One thing I spend way too much money on is workout clothing. I mean, I practically live in it. Why? Because I put it on first thing in the morning as a reminder that I need to get my workout in.

I get high-rise compression crops, as well as a few tops for very hot days (I don’t go without sleeves unless I am desperate heat-wise) from Old Navy. I wear Hanes sports bra now, but in the past, I purchased the more expensive sports bras, but I find that they all have a short life, so I opt for the supportive yet inexpensive. I buy long sleeve Under Armour tops a size larger to avoid all my lumps and bumps showing. What I can’t seem to find are shirts with three-quarter sleeves. I would wear them year-round to the gym and outside in the summer because they hide my lovely bat wings that appeared in my 50’s. Oh, what fun. Long sleeves are okay, but I get so hot anytime of the year, even when I am walking dogs in frigid temps, just another joy of menopause.

What I love about the high rise compression workout pants, no matter what brand, is that I feel thinner. They hold the middle in and make everything feel tighter when I workout. I can even wear them with high boots and a long sweater in the winter for a night out. My favorite for winter workouts and nights out on the town are Yummie by Heather Thomson cotton compact shaping leggings. I also have Yummie cotton capris for the summer.
I also like some of Carrie Underwood’s Calia collection such as the Flow Everyday long sleeve shirt. It is hip length, so it covers my lack of bootie as well as the front, something most workout wear doesn’t. I know lots of women who can wear the normal length tops, but I like them longer as well as looser. You can also get Calia tops in some great colors like “pigment purple” that looks like cobalt blue. I wish Under Armour and the like would have longer tops, just enough to cover the bum.

What brands do you find most comfortable?

Healthy Eating · vegetarian · working out

Reducing My Inflamation

I have been off most animal protein for over four months. I still eat some cheese , but I use dairy-free cheese for meat alternative burritos. I don’t drink animal milk, but I do use half and half in my coffee when a dairy alternative isn’t available. I don’t eat eggs, but I do eat baked goods at times that have eggs in the recipe. I have been choosing whole grain when possible and choosing non-GMO and organic as much as possible. I eat lentils, brown rice, quinoa, and a variety of beans such as garbanzo beans and black beans. When I do eat out, I go to places that have choices for me such as a wonderful cauliflower pizza crust instead of white flour crust.   It has been a slow process, but I feel so much better, have more energy, have almost no headaches, have lost body fat, and my fibromyalgia pain is almost nonexistent.

My neurologist started me on this journey. I am now on fewer prescriptions (some for headaches and some for fibromyalgia), and according to the bloodwork my GP had done in December, my Cholesterol went from 201 to 143, Triglycerides from 155 to 152, HDL from 59 to 45, and LDL from 111 to 68. My GP wants me to stay on Simvastatin, but I convinced her to reduce it to every other day. I really want to go off of it.  Time will tell as I will have blood work done in June.

I have been dealing with bad headaches for seven years. I thought retiring would help because stress from teaching at the college level would abate. I have to also point out that I have TMJ (now called TMD) and fibro, both of which can cause headaches. My neurologist was treating the headaches, but I have noticed that other than jaw related headaches, I haven’t been having any. I know deleting meat, fish, and chicken from my diet has reduced inflammation, and I work very hard now to avoid anything that can add to that inflammation, including avoid highly intense workouts (I workout to get up a good sweat, but not wear me out).  I wear my jaw splint at night and now when I workout (I never used to wear it then). I have Baclofen now to relax my jaw at night and that itself may be why my headaches are down from seven to eight a month to one to three. And when I have headaches, I do more jaw stretches in addition to stretches I do for my jaw and my neck daily. I have gone off a few headache medicines and hope to not need more than Tylenol from now on.

As for my fibro, I find that when I am done working out, my muscles don’t ache like they used to. I am even running again, but slowly and only on a treadmill. I was taking Lyrica, but I went off it as the doctor suggested and pain in parts of my body did not come back as I thought after not taking it for a month. I have also noticed that when I do things like vacuum and even shovel snow, I don’t have pain for two days. It is AWESOME! I will continue to increase my workouts and start some strength training to see how that goes.

I am always going to be a work in progress, but going vegetarian and even vegan at times is my present and future.