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A very sad day [Jan. 21st, 2009|10:08 pm]
asa_dachi
[mood |crushedcrushed]

On this day, my little girl puppy - Ayla - passed away. She had a tumor on the side of her rib cage that grew aggressively over the past few months. The vets had done a few tests at the onset of the issue and determined that it was just a fatty lump. Then the lump grew and moved to a second spot nearby. I took her back in and they told me it might be cancer. We had a biopsy done and they again found only fat cells. The vet said that we need not operate as it is fairly common.

Over the next couple months, the mass grew in size and then firmed up. I took her back into the vet again and this time they ran some more detailed tests. X-rays, MRI, further blood and cell analysis... Nothing conclusive. The scans showed that the lump had actually 'dissolved' two of her ribs, which had been causing her discomfort. They also said that her lymph nodes were enlarged. That, paired with the aggressive growth, led them to believe that the lump was cancerous.

I spent the next two weeks agonizing over the decision - to operate or not to operate, to do radiation treatment, to do chemotherapy. I spoke with the surgeon, the radiologist, the oncologist... They couldn't really do the chemotherapy properly since they didn't know what kind of cancer we were seeing. The radiation would only shrink the tumor, but wouldn't really take care of the issue. It would be just as expensive as the surgery but wouldn't permanently take care of the situation. The surgery was somewhat risky, but if they could remove the lump she stood a decent chance of spending another year with us. I was leaning towards doing the surgery.

They did a cat-scan before taking her in for surgery, during which they discovered a lump in each lung and more prominent swelling of the lymph nodes. I told them not to go through with the surgery. I figured that if she had more than one tumor, she would have another lump and another lump and another lump. The surgery was going to involve a massive repair of the chest wall, which would have required a minimum of 4 days stay at the vet plus a lengthy rehabilitation.

With that, we started giving Ayla anti-inflammatory medicine and anti-pain medicine. Our goal was to make her as comfortable as possible for as long as possible. This all took place the week before Christmas week. So at the time, we were trying to decide whether to plan for travel to Pennsylvania or not. Once the decision was made, I concentrated on letting my girl know how much I loved her.

She wasn't eating very well, so we mixed in canned food with the regular kibble. She perked up a bit and ate a lot of that. She made it a few weeks like this. I spent lots of time snuggling with her and petting her. Then around January 10th we had a home improvement project here at the house. My fiance's mom and dad came down so he could help me with tiling a bathroom. I think the excitement might have been a little too much for Ayla. Also, I was not feeling very good at all, coming down with a sinus infection. I went out to the urgent care physician to get checked out. While I was gone, Ayla had found a spot on the floor and laid there, not moving. Amy called and wanted to know when I would be home because she was very concerned. When I got there, Ayla just laid still. I lay next to her and pet her for a while. Eventually she'd move around a little bit, but she wouldn't eat. I pulled the sofa-bed mattress out of its frame and laid it on the floor. That night I slept on the family room floor with her so that she wouldn't have to go up and down the steps.

I wasn't sure she would make it through the night, and I was pretty sure she wouldn't make it through Sunday. But she made it. She started moving a bit more and even started eating the next day. I spoke to the vet that Monday and she advised me to try giving Ayla canned chicken along with any other 'stinky' food. That would catch her interest.

She gobbled down the canned chicken and regained a good bit of strength. By Wednesday it seemed maybe it was just a temporary issue. The vet explained that sometimes a tumor will break into a new blood vessel, causing internal bleeding. The dog will become very weak for a couple days, but their systems are capable of absorbing the blood through the digestive tract and stopping the bleeding. They can then recuperate for a while.

It looked like that was the case for Ayla until the next weekend. We, again, had the company of my fiance's mom and dad for the home improvement project. Ayla again became over-excited and weak. But Sunday night she started to perk up. Then Tuesday night, we had company again. My fiance's mom and dad returned to watch the inauguration. Ayla had a good evening, checking out what everybody was doing, enjoying the company. But that night when we went to bed, she lay on the cushion breathing with some difficulty.

In the morning, she only moved to sit on the rug near the foot of the bed, still having trouble with her breathing. I brought her some canned chicken up to the bedroom, but she didn't show any interest in eating it. I lay with her and pet her for a few minutes, but then I had to go to work. My fiance thought maybe we should block her downstairs in case she had an issue going out to the yard. But I told her I wanted Ayla to be able to lay where she was comfortable.

I left for the office, worried that she might not make it through the day. I thought about leaving work at lunchtime in order to check in on her, but I got busy at work and wasn't able to leave till 3:30. When I arrived at the house, I found Bubba and Asti in the downstairs living room by themselves. I set down some things and went up to the bedroom where I found my girl dog dead on the bed.

The process of taking my pet's body to the vet and cleaning up from her death was a difficult one. But at least it gave me something on which to concentrate.

I've known no loss like this one. In 33 years of living, I have known no sorrow so strong.
link4 gave in to the urge|feed me

For my friends with connections to the Gulf Coast... [Mar. 17th, 2008|11:08 am]
asa_dachi
Just saw this in my local news items the other day and thought some of you might find it interesting...

Rebuilding Biloxi
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To my smoking friends... [Feb. 12th, 2008|11:40 am]
asa_dachi
I bring you an entry from hilltop's journal:

A good reason to stop

Smoking is responsible for 90% of COPD in the United States. Although not all cigarette smokers will develop COPD, it is estimated that 15% will. Smokers with COPD have higher death rates than nonsmokers with COPD. They also have more frequent respiratory symptoms (coughing, shortness of breath, etc.) and more deterioration in lung function than non-smokers.

I've been wheezy and out of breath for over two years. I chalked it up to allergies, as it started shortly after a weekend of leaf blowing. With the pollens and mold around here, I figured that was the cause. It just never went away.

What I didn't know is that the longer you ignore being congested like this, the lungs start trapping air, which reduces the amount of air being exchanged. It increases mucous, which after a while, causes scarring of the lungs. The scarring decreases capacity. Then you're fucked, no two ways about it.

I quit smoking a few years ago, after a lifetime of smoking. My grandfather died of COPD. My father is now dying from COPD. I'm going in for testing this week, to see what the deal is.

This is truly one fucked up way to die, being strangled, unable to catch your breath, your diaphragm straining and struggling to take in more air, but there's no more available, you can huff and puff all you want, but your lungs are fried, and you can't take in enough to stop the feeling of suffocating. You are forced to keep an oxygen bottle nearby, as you have to make every effort to take in as much oxygen with each breath as possible, to remain alive. And after a while, it only gets you so far. Your lungs can't bring in enough oxygen to support life.

I've never feared anything greater than the prospect of being diagnosed with this. Medication can help a little, but it won't cure you, it'll just give you the opportunity to strangle yourself a little longer. If you get pneumonia, and it's advanced far enough, your days are numbered.

This is one of those stupid things that I figured the odds of me living long enough for this to ever arise were slim. I was sure I'd have been taken out early by one stupid thing or another, and never, ever expected to hit 50. It can't happen to me I thought. Not cancer, not emphysema, nope, it wouldn't hit me.

There's no going back, there's no turning back the clock, there's no way to unring the bell. I ignored the advice of many before me, I ignored the warnings. And let me tell you, this is not the way you want to die..

By the numbers- I quit 170 weeks ago, which is around 3 1/4 years ago. By quitting, I didn't smoke 35,858 cigarettes. I saved $3,047.00

Imagine smoking 35 thousand cigarettes. You'd think it'd certainly kill you, right? I started when I was 15. I was up to 2 cartons a week for a while. I have no idea how many cigarettes that amounts to, but it should have killed me. Maybe it still can.

Go do some reading if you need more of a push to stop a habit you've repeatedly told yourself you really need to quit.

Give yourself the most amazing gift you can give yourself- the gift of life, the gift of time with those you love, the gift of dying of old age.

Be smarter than me, it's not hard.

More information on the disease.
link3 gave in to the urge|feed me

health and wellness [Feb. 6th, 2008|10:35 am]
asa_dachi
[mood |intimidatedintimidated]

Based on another lj friend's post, I was tinkering around with the following sites -

http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com/bodyfatAndBmi.php

Based on my weight of 166 lbs. with a height of 5'8", I have an estimated body fat % of 21.44%. My BMI is 25.23. This puts me into the category of 'overweight', which starts at a BMI of 25. Obese is a BMI of 30, so I guess I'm doing 'okay', not good.

http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com/bodyFrame.php

Here I learned that as a male with a 6.25" wrist and a height of 5'8", I am considered to have a 'small frame'. This is significant because it means I need to reduce the numbers calculated in the next link by 10% or thereabouts to reflect the fact that I have a more slender build.

http://www.dietandfitnesstoday.com/ideal-body-weight-calculator.php

According to this site, I should ideally weigh between 121.67 lbs. and 164.42 lbs. The calculator tells me my BMI is already in the 'normal' range, though that doesn't account for the small frame. I don't think 122 lbs. would be a healthy weight for me. I weighed 125 lbs. when I was a senior in high school and had no fat on me at all. My hip bones used to stick out enough that I would get callouses on them from wearing a drum harness in marching band practices. Picking the middle of this range - 143.04 lbs. - and subtracting 10% I get 128.74 lbs.

I don't see how that's possible. My shoulders broadened, chest deepened and my legs got substantially more stout in my first two years of college. And I still was rather lean. It wasn't until my junior year that I started putting on 'fat'.

I guess if I had to target an ideal weight it would be 145 lbs. Though right now I'm just shooting for 150 lbs. Hell, I'd be happy if I was 160 by spring.

The most important thing for me is that - with the addition of 100 minutes of intensive tae kwon do class each week - I am getting the cardio workout needed to keep me around for a long time. I offset the exercise with poor eating habits from November through January. I didn't gain or lose a single pound during that time. I changed my eating habits a little bit starting on the 24th of January and lost 2 pounds overnight. (Shoveling 14 inches of snow might have had something to do with it, too. I can't be sure.)

Anyway... just sort of recording this all for my own benefit.

Feel free to ignore.

-asa
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random musing... [Jan. 23rd, 2008|04:28 pm]
asa_dachi
[mood |amusedamused]

So, I was working hard over here *cough* and I ran across something about Pablo Picasso. It mentioned his eventual wealth, success, marriage and then young mistress. Wanting to learn more about the gentleman who gave his women square boobs and what-not, I decided to check him out on Wikipedia.

His full name is Pablo Diego Jose Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Maria de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santisima Trinidad Clito Ruiz y Picasso.

Holy shit! I mean, what the hell! I'd have to stop and shake out my hand to get rid of the cramps just while signing my name. :D

And what's with putting 'Maria' in the middle of your son's name?

Just thought I'd share.

-asa
link6 gave in to the urge|feed me

(no subject) [Jan. 17th, 2008|02:40 pm]
asa_dachi
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]

Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully.
-Abraham Lincoln, from his 2nd Inauguration Address

Seems odd in juxtaposition to today's times. Lincoln, of course, was referring to the citizens of the Confederate States and citizens of the Union territory. One might apply it today to the red state/blue state paradigm, the Israel/Palestinian conflict, Sunni/Shiite tensions in Iraq... the list goes on.

-asa
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Perhaps another reason why I don't watch a lot of TV... [Jan. 16th, 2008|10:50 am]
asa_dachi
[mood |goodgood]

Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922 - 2007), "Cold Turkey", In These Times, May 10, 2004
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Continued from last post [Jan. 10th, 2008|03:27 pm]
asa_dachi
[mood |curiouscurious]

I guess that entry was so big I had to break it into two pieces for LJ. Sorry if the formatting got blown out.




Duncan Hunter

7.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty



Fred Thompson

7.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty







Mike Gravel

6.0


 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty







John McCain

5.0


 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty







Mike Huckabee

4.0


 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty






Ron Paul

4.0


 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty







The link is here.
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A different presidential candidate analyzer [Jan. 10th, 2008|03:15 pm]
asa_dachi
[mood |curiouscurious]

Select a Candidate: Your results for President

This survey is not designed to tell you what candidate you should vote for. It is intended only to help you think about your positions and then introduce you to the candidates. We have an extensive collection of information about each candidate, and their positions are much more detailed than what appears on this survey. So we encourage you to spend time on each of the pages, read the stories, listen to the candidates' own words, and learn more about each of them before deciding.



Here are the candidates in the order in which they match your views:
  • Click on a candidate's name or photo to learn more about the candidate.
  • Issues in boldface are those you selected as important.
  • A match on an issue is denoted with a check mark ().





(to be continued)


Barack Obama

15.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty



Hillary Clinton

14.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty



John Edwards

13.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty



Bill Richardson

13.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty



Dennis Kucinich

12.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty



Rudy Giuliani

10.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty



Mitt Romney

8.0

 Iraq  Iran  Immigration
 Taxes  The mortgage crisis  Education
 Social Security  Stem cell research  Health care
 SCHIP  Abortion  Line-item veto
 Energy  Marriage  Death penalty

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Politics... what an awful disease. [Jan. 10th, 2008|08:59 am]
asa_dachi
[mood |annoyedannoyed]

Conservative - old-school, reactionary, wants to keep taxes in check, keep industry free from regulation so that corporations can profit, thinks we should only get involved in foreign issues when it directly threatens the security of our nation, wants to preserve old-school values and morals, wants to protect the expression of Christian religious beliefs while not so interested in allowing the same protections for other religions...

Liberal - new-wave, tree-hugger, spend your way to a solution, big government, regulate industry, protect workers and citizens from abuses by corporations, want to get involved with overseas injustices for the sake of principle, I'm okay - you're okay values, want everyone to have the same rights, regardless of lifestyle/gender/sexual orientation/ability/religion...

Sure, you could add to either of those lists. But take a look at even the partial list of characteristics (actual or stereotypical) that I've put together to cover the two ends of the 'political spectrum'.

How many 'Conservative' characteristics match your belief system? How many 'Liberal' characteristics match your belief system?

It seems the modern political landscape - now more than ever, by my observations - has been deftly drawn into two opposing camps. And yet, who feels completely at home in either camp? I see enough people on lj or in my 'real' life who seem to believe that they are firmly aligned with one end of the spectrum or the other. And yet even the very leaders who wear the hats saying 'Conservative' or 'Liberal' don't follow these self-adorned tenets.

It's frustrating to me in a very literal sense - aggravating, exasperating, leaving me hopeless for the fate of our people - that so many jump so quickly to the opinions of the various talking heads and political mouthpieces.

Whatever happened to thinking for yourself?

When did political debate (among the population, not a dozen times on TV throughout the year-long election coverage) become about "My dad can kick your dad's ass!" instead of "My dad puts a roof over my head, keeps me safe, looks after my education and puts food on my table." In other words, when did people starting rooting for a political 'team' instead of looking at all the players for the All-Stars?

Meh... One candidate wants to shut down the borders and ship illegal immigrants back to Mexico. Great. Now my lawn service is gonna cost me twice as much. Another candidate wants to immediately withdraw from Iraq and bring home the troops. Awesome. So now we'll have a chaotic civil war involving Iran, Iraq, the Kurds, Turkey, Syria, Israel, Saudi Arabia, hell why not throw in Afghanistan, Pakistan, U.A.E., Qatar, Oman, Lebanon and Kuwait while we're at it. Gas just went up to $15.00/gallon and my children and their children are fucked because an entire region is about to go nuclear. Awesome.

None of these candidates are, on the whole, completely wrong and completely ignorant. Some of them are, in my opinion, even feigning an ignorant stance in order to appeal to voters. (The lowest common denominator.)

So why do people 'pick on' the appearance, mannerisms, personal beliefs, etc. of a candidate instead of talking about what they would do if elected? I don't really care if Hillary cries or Giuliani has to get his nuts removed due to prostate cancer. But I sure as hell care what they're going to do about alternative energy, oil, nuclear power, automobile emissions, taxes, the budget, the deficit, social security, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, North Korea, Darfur, immigration, education, gay marriage, civil unions, religious freedom, privacy... and other topics.

Unless you're going to talk about what a candidate would do while in office, I don't want to hear it.

These are political candidates, folks. Not your drinking buddy, not the quarterback at your beloved college football team (whether you ever attended the school or not), not your big brother/little brother/mom/dad that you have to defend because you feel a loyalty. Look at them for what they stand for, what they would do if elected and then tear them apart to see whether life with them as your elected leader would be better or worse. (And no, that doesn't mean that having to see 'that bitch' or 'that jackass' on TV every night qualifies as being "worse".)

Man... I just get tired of ignorance.
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