Saturday Update–3/5/11

Sheet rock after the first day of mud

Another week with its ups and downs and here is an accounting with photos.  Sasha and Chauncey had a vet visit which had a major impact on us all, and probably was the single biggest contributor to my Thursday meltdown.  Just to update everyone who is following the ongoing saga, after Sasha was diagnosed with aggressive oral cancer on November 4, 2010, the decision was made just to do palliative care as she wasn’t expected to live more than a couple months.  But when she looked good three months later and when she was also reacting negatively to the steroid treatment, the decision about surgery was re-thought and a veterinarian oncologist surgeon came to the island and removed the large mass (pretty well intact he said) along with two lymph nodes which seemed OK, but were enlarged.  That was all done on February 16th and based on my talk with both the surgeon and Sasha’s regular vet, I held out great hopes for the biopsy results (as, it turns out did her vet).

Sheet rock with one coat of mud

Well, this past Wednesday I took Sasha (along with Chauncey) to see Dr. Nell and the biopsy results were not what either of us had hoped.  Both lymph nodes were cancerous and the large mass did not have completely clean edges.  So now the discussion is going on between Dr. Nell, the surgeon, and Colorado State about what if anything happens next.  The proposal on the table, as recommended by an oncologist at Colorado State who says this is what she would do if it were her cat, is to give Sasha a type of chemotherapy that would consist of 4 shots, spread out at 3 week intervals.  Dr. Nell is now doing more research on that to see what it would entail, if there would be a local oncologist willing to instruct Dr. Nell so she could do the treatment, how this would affect Sasha in her day to day health, and what the odds are for Sasha long term with and without the treatment.  Sasha needs to be fully recovered from the surgery before this could even be attempted, so we are now on hold in a data gathering mode.

Sasha’s incision is nearly invisible just 2 weeks!

Meanwhile, Chauncey’s allergies have flared up horribly so we are back on antibiotics, anti-itch meds, ear meds, and the weekly bathing, which we resumed today.  I am so glad that I don’t have anyone coming to do construction on Saturdays anymore (the first time that has been true in a long time), so that adding Chauncey’s bath into the Saturday morning routine does not necessitate my getting up earlier.  We have had a lovely day so far, getting up around 8, puttering around the house, writing and reading haiku, bathing Chauncey, doing my meditation and yoga, taking my own shower (along about noon!), getting laundry going, etc.  

Thackeray and Laoise pretending they aren’t ready to
pounce as soon as Sasha moves from the food bowl.

Anyway, back to the past week.  The sheet rock got mudded on Tuesday and Wednesday and that was fine for me, although the pets really don’t take well to confinement and Chauncey is especially needy at the moment, finding it necessary to be within inches of me at all times, and so when I go out to the kitchen to get something and he can’t come (because I will avoid stepping in mud splatters, but the pets won’t), he cries on the other side of the door which is heart-rendering.  Poosa fares better since she just jumps up on cat furniture so she can see  out of the lovely window Leigh cut in my door, but Chauncey hasn’t managed that so he can’t even see me.

Blue roofing is nearly done.

In any case, the mudding went fine.  Then on Wednesday afternoon, after I got home from the vet with the discouraging reports, I found a message from Leigh about how to count the sheet rock days and from the message it sounded as if the 10 days was 10 actual sheet rock working days, which meant at 2-3/week this would go on for nearly 5 weeks!  I freaked at that since I have already been living in this little 331 sq. ft. bedroom/studio for 5 weeks.  The sheet rockers also said that there would be two sandings, not one, as originally promised, and as all who have been through this know, it is the sanding which is the worst!  And on top of that I had to move a 5 gallon bucket of mudding water out to the garage since the mud guys obviously didn’t realize you can’t leave bodies of water around pets.  By Thursday I was in meltdown on every level and when Gary, my electrician, showed up to check on things, I fell apart.  He was nothing but kind and helped me to sort things out.  My stove top had had its knobs removed and it was covered with a piece of plywood.  Gary helped me find the knobs and then got them re-installed so I can use my stove top over the weekend.  Then Leigh called and promised she would nail down a firm schedule with the sheet rocking guys.  And Gary had a lighting catalog with pictures of cool red wire mounted lights for my track lighting that I just love and which solved that worry.

Daughter dragon weather vane

dsl in very short order.  Leigh called and the schedule for this coming week is to have a “light” sanding on Monday followed by the second coat of mud.  Then Wednesday will be the “real” sanding and priming of the sheet rock and Thursday or Friday will be the painting of the sheet rock!!  Well, that made me feel much better.  I only have to survive one more week of sheet rock stuff!  Everything else I can take in stride.  The floor, which was redone before all this but which has some goofs to be fixed and polishing to be done, will be taken care of a week from Monday and then I can move back into the rest of my home and get my stuff back out of storage and maybe, wonder of wonders, start quilting again!!

Mother dragon weather vane protecting us all!

So things are looking much, much better and many thanks to Leigh for getting a schedule we could all live with!  Gary also got my generator hooked up with the current circuits (most of my circuits have been run, but not connected because of the sheet rocking) set up for automatic switching if my power goes out.  Last Wednesday we had a fierce wind storm where I had branches flying horizontally past my windows–both scary and exciting–and part of the island did lose power, so I am glad that I am now fully automated.  And yesterday my roofers (remember that project?  It is nearly but not quite done) very kindly put my dragon weather vanes back up on my garage and home, so I feel well protected by them, as well as by all the folks who are truly doing a wonderful job of looking after this old lady, this frazzled homeowner, this worried mother.  I appreciate it all more than I can say.  So that has been the week on this wonderful island.  I hope your week has been calmer and that all of us will have a great week ahead.

5 responses

  1. I think I'd be having meltdowns, too, under the circumstances. It's hard enough to deal with a beloved pet's health struggles, but with all the construction I'm impressed that you stay as calm as you do. I hope Sasha fares well with her treatments, and the house becomes a home a.s.a.p. Positive energy headed your way from me.

  2. Wow, Daphne, you have really had to deal with an awful lot, both for quite a while and all at once at times. When it rains, it pours! But I am amazed at how it seems that every time things go awry at least one angel steps in to save the day, or at least smooth things over to a manageable degree! Gary gets a whole sheet of gold stars, and that Leigh is totally amazing! Did she tighten up that ungainly sheet rocking schedule or WHAT?! I can just imagine how ecstatic you must have felt at vast and sudden improvement. Even I breathed a sigh of relief and felt a burden lift as I read that part. :-)Your house is really starting to look finished even though there is more to do, and it'll just keep looking better and better. If only Chauncey could understand the hardship is just temporary! (That's probably what the Fates say about us, lol!)As I said in my reply to your comment on my blog earlier this week, I'm so sorry that Sasha's outcome wasn't what you and your vet had hoped for, but am glad she's doing so well and has recovered from her surgery so quickly, and that there are other options to explore. (CSU has a top notch vet department!) I hope she'll continue to be comfortable and enjoy exploring all the new goodies as they get added to your beautiful "new" house! :-)Speaking of wonderful goodies, I ADORE your dragon weathervanes!! They're wonderful, and are no doubt enveloping your home in protective, positive mojo from their pretty new blue perches!Good luck with everything next week, I'll be thinking of you! (Had my own meltdown earlier this week as everything went wrong, but then everything magically came together late in the week and made everything better. It usually does, but honestly – why MUST we have to reach a meltdown stage before it does?) 😉

  3. Thanks to both of you, Andrea and Laloofah! Both my doctor and my therapist said they would have committed murder by now just with the confinement on the sheetrock. My therapist went on to say that being single is currently a plus as she and her husband would have been vying for the honor of being the first to do away with the other if they had to live as I am, so I feel a bit better about how I'm handling (or at times not) the whole mess. Thanks for your positive energies, Andrea, and to you Laloofah for your info on CSU. Sasha is amazing everyone with her sweetness, speed of recovery, etc. At least I know that I didn't cause her much distress with the decision to do the surgery and hopefully no matter what it has bought her more time. Yes, I love dragons and have quite a collection (no dragon went into storage, by the way, even though most of my life did!), and the weather vanes are a particular favorite of mine, so it felt really good to see them go up–as if this really is my place and not the roofers', electrician's, plumber's, carpenter's etc. And I do know just how lucky I am to have such kind empathic people working for me. I couldn't manage any other way. And I also have wondered why we have to get to meltdown before stuff wonderfully comes together! Glad yours worked out as well.

  4. I am sorry about your cat and know it is a difficult time for you. Your house appears to be shaping up from the early photos you posted. Nice that you worked out everything — soon this period will be the past. — barbara

  5. Thanks, Barbara, and Sasha thanks you as well. Her vet called this morning and according to a local oncologist Sasha's cancer could be cured (yep) with 4 chemo treatments which 90-95% of the time don't seem to bother the cat at all! Hoping this is true–her first treatment scheduled for next Friday 3/18. And yes, my home is shaping up and I can't wait for the walls to go pink on Friday! Thanks as always for stopping by!

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