Saturday, May 28, 2016

Elkhart Campground for a bit!

We arrived at Elkhart Campground on May 9. It seems like we never left. We found that our friends were back and everything seems to be in order. They have added some pads to about half the campsites which is a big improvement because now we don't have tall grass growing up around our feet when we get out. It's easier for them to mow because they don't have RV's sitting on the grass. It's a big improvement.

We made arrangements with Gerald at Charger Enterprises on getting our one broken jack replaced. We ordered it from Tiffin and it came a couple days later. So last week we closed Phaeton Place up and took her in. They told us to have her there by 7 a.m. and they would "work her in." They called at 9:15 and she was all done! Wow. Can you spell service? What a great team they are at Charger. So now we are finally sitting on all four jacks and no one can tell now if our rig's "rockin." LOL

I had an appointment last week with a neurosurgeon in Indianapolis. It's time to find out if anything can be done about my back. I have struggled with it for my entire adult life and it isn't getting better. Course I knew when the doctor explained it at age 20 that it wasn't going to get better. He said to put off doing anything as long as you can. Back then back surgeries and treatments were not as successful as they are now, so I thought 46 years was long enough to wait. I would like to know if I have any options for helping me deal with it. I don't want to wait until I'm too old to have anything fixed. I'm in good health now, so the time is right. This was my initial consultation and I have to go back in July for MRI's, x-rays and a talk with the surgeon.

We had dinner with my high school classmate Luanne and husband Jim on Sunday. It was good to see them. We always enjoy our time together. We went to Red Lobster. It's been a long time since we've been to one of those, but we had great food with great friends.
Later in the afternoon, we got the Miata out and put the top down and went for a drive. We ended up on the shore of Lake Michigan up at St. Joe, Michigan. It was a little cool, but it was sunny and we were comfortable. We stopped to look at the lake. It happens that where we stopped is the place where in the 1950's, erosion along the lake led to the destruction of several homes. Some homes were actually moved and still stand elsewhere in the town. Some were destroyed and a few remain today, precariously close to the edge of the cliff. Foundations can be seen where the homes once stood. We also could see the St. Joseph Light from our perch atop that cliff.

I also had to have a tooth pulled. It had a crown on it and this winter it snapped off. There was no saving it, so I made the appointment and was sedated and had it pulled. I don't remember much after that. The next few days are a blur. Hah. But that is a good way to have that done. I had one pulled years ago without being sedated and that was okay. I was in so much pain at the time I didn't care that I was awake. At any rate, it is healing nicely.

We are here another week, then we are headed south to Terry's family reunion. Hard to believe it's that time of year again. But we are headed down to Mississippi and from there will visit Red Bay, Alabama, where Phaeton Place was born. We're having the chassis checked out this time. Everything is going well with her now. We've had our trials over the past year, but she is running great now and everything is working like it should. Talking with other people and problems they've had, I feel fortunate that we have run trouble free for 10 years and then just a few corrections after that. Here's to the next 100,000 miles!

The other night Mars was visible. I don't know if you got to see it, but I did. While I was outside, I was able to snap this picture of the moon. While I did see Mars, it was much too small for me to capture on my camera, so I chose the next best thing!

Till next time. . .


Monday, May 09, 2016

Family time!

Once we left Prophetstown, we drove to another state park, Tippecanoe, which was again, not far down the road. It is on the Tippecanoe River and is a much older park. There were sites available for us and we didn't have any trouble getting in. In fact there were only two of us plus the camp host in the entire park! Needless to say, it was very quiet and a pleasurable night.

The next day we drove up to Toto. Years ago there were several "bargain barns," kind of like indoor flea markets, and we wanted to see if they were still around. There are two that we found. . . in different places and a little more upscale. We had fun browsing around and checking out the bargains. We did find a few and enjoyed the day.

The next day we drove on to Warsaw to the Kosciusko County Fairgrounds and scored a 50 amp site. Last year they had some nice graveled sites with back to back hookups and they had similar travel trailers on them. They are all gone. The management told us that the "campers couldn't get along." Hmmmm. Sounds strange to me, but I don't like it when fairgrounds have permanent campers anyway. Usually makes for a trashy situation.

The weather has turned cool and we are right on a canal off Winona Lake at the campground. During the day when the sun is out, you can see dozens of turtles sunning themselves on the seawalls across the channel. What a hoot! There were all sizes of turtles and all kinds, including leatherbacks. I couldn't get close to them. When I would get halfway through the meadow, they would start splashing back in the water, so I had to use my zoom lens. LOL

Our main reason for coming here, though, is not to see the turtles! LOL We were here to spend a few days before going to Elkhart Campground for a month. This is the closest camp to Mom and Dad's house, so we stayed for a few days and got to see them. In fact, it was Mother's Day weekend, so we went with them and Nita and most of her family to the Honeywell Center in Wabash for dinner to celebrate. It was great fun and we enjoyed seeing everyone.

The next day we headed further north and scored a site near the dog park at Elkhart Campground where we will stay for almost a month.

Till next time. . .


Friday, May 06, 2016

The news is bad. . .

We drove into Purdue the next afternoon afternoon and spoke with the veterinary oncologist. Yes, they have those. He explained that while the biopsy results would not be back for a week or so, it does appear that Butterscotch's problems are multiple tumors associated with TCC. Her urethra has what he called "advanced disease" and there really is no hope that our sweet baby will escape this terrible sentence.

He talked about chemo and radiation. . . and aside from the fact that it costs a LOT of money for treatments which are about every two weeks, we do not think that is what Butterscotch would want. They cannot prolong her life and that, to us, is just dragging out her death. There is a drug, piroxicam, which has been shown to relieve a lot of the inflammation in the urethra and the bladder and make urination easier. I knew about this drug, which is an NSAID, like aspirin, and is not expensive. In fact, it has shown more promise than the chemo drugs in some cases. We opted to try this and she has been responding well to it. This is not a cure, but typically allows them to pee better which keeps them alive a bit longer.

The vet did call again when the biopsy results were in and everything was confirmed. He again talked about chemo and we again declined. The piroxicam is doing it's job. She does have good days and bad days when she seems to exhibit some pain. I give her pain pills when I think she is hurting. We will no doubt have to make a decision in the near future and help her over the Rainbow Bridge. I don't want her to suffer and if she stops peeing, we will have to move quickly. The vet said she would have about 160 days, but I think since we know she has been fighting this for a year and a half, it won't be that long. But she is dearly loved and will continue to be until then.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Butterscotch is attending Purdue!

Last Sunday we packed up from our spot at White River Campground in Cicero and drove about 68 miles to Prophetstown State Park north of Lafayette. We needed to be close to Purdue University for our sweet, sweet white Scottie who is seeing a vet researcher there.

We got settled in and watched the Nascar race and relaxed the rest of the day. Around dusk the weather reports started getting ugly and we could hear tornado sirens sounding. Tornado sirens became kind of a mainstay in Indiana after the Palm Sunday tornadoes in 1965, and I'm glad they have then. Turns out our little weather radio was on the wrong station, so we got it up and running. The forecast was nasty, but fortunately for us. . . the storm was tracking south of us. Whoo hoo. We did have some rain, but no wind, hail or tornadoes. Always glad when a plan comes together!

Yesterday we drove into Purdue for Butterscotch's 9:30 appointment. There is a veterinary researcher who is studying TCC, transitional cell carcinoma, aka bladder cancer in the Scottish Terrier. When I had inquired of a vet friend earlier in the year, she told me I needed to take Butterscotch there because there was no better authority on the condition and it appears Butterscotch may have TCC.

We were taken in very quickly and a vet tech examined Butterscotch and did a history. Then she took Butterscotch back to have the vet researcher examine her. She did an ultrasound and some time later came in to talk with us about our sweet dog.

First, she talked about how sweet she is. Butterscotch is the calmest dog I have ever met. She never gets excited or scared about anything and is just so mellow. She lets anyone manipulate her and never objects. The ultrasound revealed tissue in the urethra and lumps in the bladder. Dr. Knapp is unsure if what's in the urethra is cancer or a stone, but whatever it is, it is large enough to be causing problems with her urination. She wanted to keep her overnight and do some x-rays and bloodwork and then perform a cystoscopy today. We hate leaving our girlie, but Neisa, the vet tech, was personally responsible for her and she said she would take very good care of her.

Neisa even called later to tell us they had already done the x-rays and that everything looked good. . . there appears to be no metastasis which is great news. Dr. Knapp did say that if Butterscotch has TCC, she didn't read the book. In other words, it is not acting like cancer and with her having had this for a year and a half, she should have already succumbed to the disease. Plus the fact that it hasn't appeared to spread. . . so she's not saying for sure that it is cancer.

So what is it? Well, there is the possibility that she has more bladder stones and more infection. We do know that keeping her on antibiotics keeps her peeing pretty well, so one could hope that we are dealing with something other than TCC.

Today the procedure is at 9:30 and she will be scoping and taking biopsies of anything suspicious. She also hopes to remove the stone or tissue in the urethra that she sees if it is possible. Many times the cancers have blood supplies, so removing large amounts of tissue is just not possible. It would cause bleeding.

So we wait today. Duchess is doing well. We are taking her on more and longer walks than she has been getting. Since Butterscotch is so slow these days, Duchess doesn't get the exercise she should so we are getting her out more.

This campground north of Lafayette is called Prophetstown State Park and is Indiana's newest state park. It is quite nice. There are several loops and the one we are in is full hookup and 50 amp. We are in a pull through site which is very spacious. Most of the sites have a lot of trees and shrubbery on the sides which block the next campsites from view. Very private feeling. There are only four of us here right now including the camp host, so we are having very quiet times. It is very dark at night with no lighting, but very peaceful.

There is a pioneer farm here at Prophetstown proper and an Indian village which we will check out today. "The Prophet" was Tecumseh's brother. More information can be found on these Indian warriors and the role they played in the wars against the settlers by googling their names. Tecumseh was the leader of the Shawnee and united tribes against the expansion of the white settlers in the area. He also aligned his people with the British in the War of 1812.

We took a brief drive the other night to find where we had to go this morning. We also drove north to the Tippecanoe Battleground and snapped a picture of this monument. We also drove out to see where Wolf Park is located. It's not open now except on Saturday (howl) night.

We will stay here another night and see how Butterscotch does after her procedure today. We will probably have to return next week when the test results are all in. We will then have some decisions to make about the course of her treatment from that point on.

Wish us and Butterscotch well today!

Till next time. . .