Sunday, October 31, 2010

Introducing Gracie

After losing Maxx, we debated:  Cat?  Dog?  Although it really would have made a lot of sense to get a cat...and we seriously discussed it...we both really wanted a dog. 

We had every intention of waiting until we were down in Arizona to start looking for another dog, but the opportunity came up to get a Brussels Griffon, a breed that we had been interested in for years.  We'd first seen the Brussels Griffon at a dog show, but I don't remember exactly when that dog show was...maybe while we were still living in the Chicago area, or perhaps after we'd retired and moved to Glendale.  I do know that on our way back from our 1998 trip to Alaska, we were parked near Christina Lake in British Columbia when we spotted a Brussels Griffon with the people parked behind us.  We went over to talk with them...they seemed surprised that we knew about Brussels Griffons!

Yesterday morning, we drove to the east side of Spokane Valley to look at the two Brussels Griffons that a breeder had...a female and a male.  Both were really cute, but the female was a lower-energy dog, which, for us, fit us better.  So we brought her home!

She's 5 months old (as of today, October 31)...we've named her Gracie.  She slept in her crate by the side of my bed all night long and didn't make a peep, so being away from her momma, daddy, and brother didn't seem to phase her.  She seems to pick up on things quickly, so, hopefully, training her won't be a major problem!

Here are a few pictures:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

We met with the oncologist on Friday, October 8 to go over the options for the treatment of Earl's prostate cancer.

The first thing that happened, since Earl had expressed an interest in having the internal radiation where radioactive "seeds" are implanted into the prostate (implant radiation or brachytherapy), was that the oncology nurse, using props, showed us exactly what was involved in the procedure.

We then met with the oncologist who went over in more detail what was involved in both the internal and implant radiation options. Part of the reason that Earl had decided on the implant radiation was that he thought he'd be done and we could be out of here sooner. However, as it turns out, the implants wouldn't have been done for several weeks because there is so much preliminary work that has to be done, and then we'd have to hang around for three weeks afterward for a follow-up visit with the oncologist.

Since the time frame for each type of radiation would be about the same, and the external radiation is not invasive like brachytherapy is, Earl decided on the external radiation.

On Monday, Earl had his first visit to the radiation department...this was just a preliminary visit where they determined the areas where the radiation will go and put semi-permanent marks on the body...the first radiation treatment will start tomorrow. There are a total of 38 treatments, so excluding Thanksgiving Day, Earl will have his last treatment on December 6. We should be out of here on December 7 (fingers crossed)!

Friday, October 08, 2010

Maxx Hylton -- RIP -- 8.18.95 to 10.7.10

Yesterday was a sad day in the Hylton household. After 15 years brightening our lives, the time came when we had to have Maxx put down.

We knew the time was coming: He'd had Valley Fever since 2006, although he was doing really well on the Fluconozole prescribed for it. Other than being almost totally blind, Maxx was doing pretty well considering his age...especially when he went out for a walk (always one of his most favorite things to do, other than napping), he bounced along as though he were a much younger dog. He did have a bit of a problem in the last few months of being steady on his feet, particularly when he'd been laying down for awhile.

However, on Wednesday morning, we woke up and could tell the time had come. If Earl had not already had an appointment with the surgeon who had done his prostate biopsy, we would have taken Maxx to the vet then. On Thursday morning, we called the vet nearest to us and made an appointment with them to have Maxx euthanized. We were given a chance to say goodbye to him in the privacy of one of the rooms, and then we left...we thought about staying, but it would have been too hard on us to watch him pass from this world. As it was, it was one of the most difficult things we've had to do (as it has been with all of our beloved pets).

I've prepared a separate blog for Maxx with lots of pictures taken throughout his life. It can be found at:

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

This has been an interesting...and busy...month.

After my gallbladder surgery on September 2, I had to be transported to the emergency room early the following Wednesday morning. I thought I was having a heart attack, but fortunately, it wasn't that...nor was it a blood clot, which was the other thing we were fearful of. I was given a catscan, but the doctor had no idea what it was...perhaps left over gas from the surgery trying to find its way out (I'd been told about that, but no one mentioned the pain it would cause)! At any rate, it was a scary few hours!

During September, Earl had a colonoscopy (his first one) which was clear (no polyps) and a prostate biopsy (since his PSA was around 11). We just met with the doctor who did the biopsy and they found early stages of prostate cancer. Fortunately, it is not the aggressive kind of prostate cancer and it has been caught early. The doctor discussed all the options with us...radiation (either external radiation or by the insertion of radioactive "seeds"), or surgery. Earl opted for the insertion of the radioactive seeds, so he has his first appointment with the oncologist this Friday to fill out paperwork and have a consultation.

We asked the doctor about waiting to do anything until we returned to Spokane in April, but he was reluctant to advise waiting. This means, of course, that our hope for leaving for Arizona around the middle of this month have been dashed. Assuming that Earl can get in for the "surgery" sometime this month, it means that, at the earliest, we wouldn't be able to leave here until the end of October...perhaps into November. Of course, if he can't get the procedure done until November, then we'll be here even longer.

On a lighter note, September 20 was our 35th anniversary and, to celebrate, we went to the Spaghetti Factory for dinner.